Cancer Survivors Brave Art

We are celebrating the bravery of our team through the beauty of art. Kapiti CanSurvive  members

Mixing sport and culture

AmberBy Bette Cosgrove

BraveArt is an art project that brings together the positive powers of both sport and art, conceived to highlight the bravery and positive attitude of the CanSurvive Dragon Boat Team of Wellington. The creativity and passion of many Kapiti residents is supporting the exhibition. For the sportswomen of CanSurvive it is no coincidence that cancer begins with the word ‘can’. They have a ‘can do’ attitude to life, and to their sport.

Great dragon boaters

CanSurviveThey have proven it on the water as members of the CanSurvive Dragon Boat Team.

As breast cancer survivors, 28 women dedicate themselves to their sport to stay healthy, and gain strength from working as a team.These paddlers put their bodies on the line competing to be the best in New Zealand.

The power of their positivity won them the NZ Breast Cancer Survivors championship title at the New Zealand Dragon Boat Association 2014 National Championships.

Bodies on the line for art

Now the ladies are putting their bodies on the line again, but in a very different way. The team members have cast their own torsos in plaster, and these busts provide a diverse group of artists with a unique canvas for their artworks. Three members of the team are from Kapiti.

Amber Bellamore (top photo), and Betsy Booth travel into Wellington for twice-weekly training sessions, and long-term Kapiti resident Bette Cosgrove, now based in the city, is the newest member of the team.

These CanSurvive crew members believe that volunteering to cast their modified breasts showing the scars of surgery and breast cancer treatment is a way to inspire and encourage others with the message that you CAN live a healthy, active life after cancer.

Celebrities join the casting

Jan BSeveral celebrity supporters also offered their bodies for casting, including Jan Bolwell, choreographer and dancer from Paekakariki (see alongside), Wellington Mayor Celia Wade-Brown (bottom left photo), paralympic cycling gold medalist Paula Tesoriero, actor Miranda Harcourt, Lilith LaCroix musician and star of Drumdrag (persona of composer Gareth Farr), and former Miss Universe Lorraine Downes.

The artists, from diverse backgrounds and disciplines have been matched with paddlers and women who have all been affected by breast cancer in a variety of ways. All artists are donating their work for sale.

Many of these are Kapiti artists, including oil painter Andrew Moon, jeweller Diane Connal, and auto-airbrush artist Jonathan Vinsen. Kapiti coast resident master Plasterer Paul Stanton, from Carrara Ceilings in Johnsonville, assisted the team with the creation of the plaster torsos. He has teamed up with local maori carver and artist, Toi, to create a unique plaster cast artwork.

The result will be an astonishing collection of sixteen individual artworks created onto women’s bodies, to be exhibited around the region, and finally at the Academy of Fine Arts Gallery on Wellington waterfront from August 13.

The Brave Art sale and on-going paddling

CeliaAll BraveArt will be sold to the highest bidders at a live auction event on August 21.

Money raised will add to the huge sum required to send the full team of 26 survivors from the CanSurvive team to compete alongside one hundred other world teams at the International Breast Cancer Dragon Boat Festival in Florida, USA in October this year.

Amber and Betsy will continue to travel in from Kapiti to train on Wellington harbour with their team mates through the winter to be competitive at the International Breast Cancer Paddlers Commission quadrennial international dragon boat event.

For the Kapiti women on the team the BraveArt message is simple: “we are celebrating the bravery of our team through the beauty of art.”

Contact: Bette Cosgrove 02732420434 BraveArt NZ on Facebook