Visual artist and Parkite Josee Nadeau participated in Mandela fundraiser
On July 18, Park City’s Josee Nadeau, a world-renowned visual artist who is the protégé of Gerald Van der Kemp, curator of Chateau de Versailles and Claude Monet’s Garden, appeared on the late South African President’s birthday in Footsteps of Mandela, a concert event to raise money for the United Nations, and Simon Estes Foundation’s Nothing But Nets program.
Nothing but Nets is a global campaign that fights malaria, the leading cause of death in African children, according to its mission statement at http://www.nothingbutnets.net .
The program asks donors for $10 that will help UNICEF, the U.N. Refugee Agency and the World Health Organization to purchase mosquito nets for distribution in African countries.
Nadeau, who will present live art demonstrations at the SKY Lodge during the Park City Kimball Arts Festival this weekend, painted to performances given by Metropolitan Opera singer Simon Estes, Tony and Emmy Award-winning actress Liz Callaway, South African a cappella group Thuli Dumakude and Thokoza and gospel and jazz singer Jolie Rocke-Brown.
"When Simon Estes started to sing, my hand became like a feather," Nadeau told The Park Record. "The music was amazing, unbelievable. It was wonderful to hear the beautiful voices of the singers and choir and feel the resonance of the drum group. It was a great experience to create a portrait of this great humanitarian and statesman, Nelson Mandela, in the midst of speakers such as Congressman Charles Rangel and dignitaries from the United Nations, including Margo Jacobs, Nothing But Nets senior campaign officer.
Jazzical pianist and producer Joel A. Martin arranged inspirational pieces from Stan Satlin’s "Auratorio Americana" and renowned South African producer Welcome Msomi co-produced the event with theatrical reflections on Mandela’s life, according to Nadeau.
"Joel put everything together and created an outstanding historical event," Nadeau said. "He [also] plans to continue doing events throughout the year, not just on Nelson Mandela’s birthday."
The event was held in the Riverside Church in New York, the church that Nelson Mandela visited when he came to New York City, according to Nadeau.
"It was the last church he visited before he died last December, and this event was a true celebration of him," she said. "Everything was relaxed, and the speakers were so inspirational, and many of the speakers knew Mandela personally."
The highlights of the night including the words of Reverend Dr. James A. Forbes, Jr. from The Riverside Church.
"He said, ‘If anyone has a song, they should sing that song,’" Nadeau said.
Estes spoke of meeting Nelson Mandela with Audrey Hepburn.
"In fact, everyone spoke of the friendships they made with Mandela," Nadeau said. "It was quite the celebration."
Prior to the performance, Livingston McKay LLC interviewed and taped Nadeau for a documentary called "Ineffable," and produced for broadcast on PBS.
The Footsteps of Mandela organizers invited Nadeau to be a part of the event because they had known about the artist’s work and collaborations, which include events for Ralph Lauren, Harry Belafonte, Dionne Warwick, the Linda McCartney Foundation, the 100th anniversary for Maryland Legal Aid with Kate O’Malley, Maryland’s first lady, the late George Harrison and the Salt Lake Symphony.
"To be part of this Celebration for Nelson Mandela’s birthday and to create his portrait on this historical day was an honor," Nadeau said.
The painter was also happy with the 8-feet-by-7-feet portrait of Mandela she created during the event.
"The piece turned out to be powerful and refreshing and to paint Mandela and to share it with the people was an honor," she said. "The colors that unfolded on my palette were soft. It was bold, for me, to paint such a figure in soft colors. I was delighted with the result at the end much interests have been demonstrated towards the painting and we will be selling prints that will be available to purchase. As for the original, soon we will reveal what we will be doing with it so it can raise money for the cause and continue the awareness via the work."
Out of all the events that Nadeau has participated, including painting Olympic athlete portraits of Joss Christensen and Sage Kotsenburg and Robert Kennedy Jr.’s Waterkeeper Alliance — the Footsteps of Mandela celebration was certainly another highlight in her career.
"It was a true, sincere and incredible experience that will undoubtedly continue the next generation’s awareness for Nelson Mandela," she said.
Park City’s Josee Nadeau will present live art demonstrations at SKY Lodge, 201 Heber Ave., during the Park City Kimball Arts Festival from Friday, Aug. 1, through Sunday, Aug. 3. The SKY exhibits Nadeau’s work throughout the lodge. For more information, visit http://www.joseenadeau.com . For more information about Footsteps of Mandela, visit http://www.footsteps ofmandela.org .
Summit County gardeners can purchase local-climate friendly plants and seeds to grow this season