Festival of Kim a fitting tribute

Cut the cake: Kim's wife (centre) watching as the candles on his birthday cake were lit at the gallery on Saturday afternoon. Photo: Tootsie.

Cut the cake: Kim's wife (centre) watching as the candles on his birthday cake were lit at the gallery on Saturday afternoon. Photo: Tootsie.

On Saturday March 10, family members, friends, and admirers of Kim Nelson gathered at Tootsie to celebrate the late artist’s birthday and raise money for charity in his memory. 

Happy family: Kim Nelson with his daughter Caitlin (centre) and wife Therese, who was present at the Festival of Kim on Saturday. Photo: Supplied.

Happy family: Kim Nelson with his daughter Caitlin (centre) and wife Therese, who was present at the Festival of Kim on Saturday. Photo: Supplied.

Owner of the restaurant and gallery, Michaela Potham, said that the event was a fitting tribute to Kim and that everyone involved felt honoured to have taken part. 

“It was just lovely, so many donations and so many people giving,” Ms Potham said. 

The band: Canberra-based band Autonomous Tones played at the event and donated their pay cheques to UNICEF rather than accepting them. Photo: Toby Vue.

The band: Canberra-based band Autonomous Tones played at the event and donated their pay cheques to UNICEF rather than accepting them. Photo: Toby Vue.

“It was just nice, there were lots of conversations about Kim and memories of him.

“It was a real community day and community feeling, and lots of people came out of the woodwork.” 

The donations given on the day amounted to $1100, which was all donated to UNICEF, a charity which Kim was particularly fond of and supported fervently. 

“It was just amazing to be able to donate to a charity which he really supported and was always supporting and giving money to,” Ms Potham said. 

Ms Potham said that support for the event was shown by the whole community, even those who were passing by and decided to stop in. 

Following the conclusion of the festival, even the band decided to donate their paycheck for the event to UNICEF. 

Kim Nelson was known locally for his art, and famous for the superman shirt and red shawl which accompanied him wherever he went. 

Described by friend Al Phemister as “made to make art”, Kim passed away suddenly in August 2015 from a heart attack. 

“He could see the world differently; art was in his heart and soul,” Mr Phemister said soon after Kim’s death. 

Despite the inevitable melancholy that comes with an event like The Festival of Kim, Ms Potham said that it was not intended to be a sad day, because that’s not what Kim would have wanted. 

“Obviously when people have passed away, their birthdays are quite sad, a sad thing where you remember where they’re not here,” Ms Potham said.

“But that certainly didn’t happen.

“The whole day was conversations of funny things he used to do and how he’d walk down the street with his superman t-shirt hanging out the front of his shirt.” 

The success of the event helped Ms Potham decide that she will hold further fundraisers for UNICEF in future, however she was unsure whether or not it would be too emotionally draining to hold the Festival of Kim annually. 

“I’d like to do it again, I don’t know if you could do it yearly,” she said. 

“I know it was a big thing emotionally for the family, and I certainly did ask them when I was planning it … if it’s too much or too upsetting, I’m happy not to do it.”

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