LOCATED ON DAME LANE OFF SOUTH GREAT GEORGE’S STREET
Emmalene Blake is the artist responsible for this mural celebrating the life of Sinead O’Connor.
Shuhada’ Sadaqat (born Sinéad Marie Bernadette O’Connor; 8 December 1966 – 26 July 2023), known professionally as Sinéad O’Connor, was an Irish singer, songwriter, and activist. Her debut studio album, The Lion and the Cobra, was released in 1987 and achieved international chart success. Her 1990 album, I Do Not Want What I Haven’t Got, marked her greatest accomplishment, selling over seven million copies worldwide. Its lead single, “Nothing Compares 2 U”, was honoured as the top world single of the year at the Billboard Music Awards.
O’Connor achieved chart success with Am I Not Your Girl? (1992) and Universal Mother (1994), both certified gold in the UK, as well as Faith and Courage (2000), certified gold in Australia. Throw Down Your Arms (2005) achieved gold status in Ireland. Her career encompassed songs for films, collaborations with numerous artists, and appearances at charity fundraising concerts. O’Connor’s memoir, Rememberings, released in 2021, became a bestseller.
Consistently, O’Connor drew attention to issues such as child abuse, human rights, racism, organised religion, and women’s rights. During a Saturday Night Live performance in 1992, she tore up a photograph of Pope John Paul II to protest against abuse in the Catholic Church, sparking controversy. Throughout her musical career, she openly discussed her spiritual journey, activism, socio-political viewpoints, as well as her experiences with trauma and struggles with mental health.
In 2017, O’Connor changed her name to Magda Davitt. After converting to Islam in 2018, she adopted the name Shuhada’ Sadaqat while continuing to perform and record under her birth name.
On 26 July 2023, O’Connor was found unresponsive at her flat in Herne Hill, South London, and confirmed dead at the age of 56. The cause of death was not stated. The following day, the Metropolitan Police reported that O’Connor’s death was not being treated as suspicious. On 28 July, the coroner in London said that the date of her death was still unknown. Her date of death was marked as 26 July upon her burial at Dean’s Grange Cemetery on 8 August.
A private funeral was held on 8 August in Bray, County Wicklow. It was attended by the president of Ireland, Michael D. Higgins. O’Connor’s family invited the public to pay their respects at the seafront where the funeral cortege passed. Thousands attended bearing signs and tributes.
American singer-songwriter Phoebe Bridgers wrote a tribute to O’Connor in Rolling Stone, praising her integrity. Celebrities including Janelle Monáe, Patton Oswalt, Jamie Lee Curtis, Tori Amos, Bear McCreary, Public Enemy, Amanda Palmer, and Toni Collette posted tributes on social media. English singer Morrissey wrote a tribute criticising the reaction from executives and celebrities, and wrote: “You praise her now only because it is too late. You hadn’t the guts to support her when she was alive and she was looking for you.”
Emmalene Blake (ESTR) is an artist based in Dublin, Ireland. Since graduating from Dublin Institute of Technology with an Honour’s Degree in Fine Art in 2012, Emmalene has been honing her craft as a street artist, first painting live at an event in 2013. Since then Emmalene has painted live at many events, as well as painting commissioned pieces throughout Ireland and abroad.