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Bono formally shows his prints

Dublin, Oct. 4: Amid scenes of hysteria and media frenzy not usually witnessed at the opening of an art exhibition, the Irish rock star Bono made an appearance at Dublin’s City Hall yesterday, for the first public display of his paintings.

Not that this previously unheralded artist was making any great claims for his abilities. “I love art too much to call these anything other than marks on paper,” he said. Nevertheless, they are expected to fetch a tidy sum for charity.

Executed on enormous white canvases in bold strokes of black, Bono’s works were created to accompany a radical new version of Prokofiev’s Peter And The Wolf, performed by Bono’s close childhood friend Gavin Friday.

The CD and accompanying book — published next week by Bloomsbury — will raise money for the Irish Hospice Foundation, who looked after Bono’s father who died of cancer in 2001.

Bono said he found the challenge of illustrating the children’s tale a cathartic experience. “Beneath the jollity there is a serious side to this work which is to do with my old man who gave me my voice and my interest in paint. . . but not the confidence to do anything with them, as you can see.”

Bono’s daughters Jordan, 14, and Eve, 12, contributed by adding details of flowers to Bono’s rather rudimentary forest. “They show a lot more aptitude with a brush than I ever did at their age. Actually, more than I do now.”

The character of Peter is based on the young Bono while Bono’s wife Ali is caricatured as a rather erotic cartoon cat called Pussy. “When I said I would immortalise her, I’m not sure this is what she had in mind,” he joked.

The works will be exhibited at Christie’s in London next week and auctioned by Christie’s New York on November 20-21.

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