Fifi Colston - WoW artist & Illustrator
Freelance artist Fifi has her fingers in many creative pies. She has tutored in design and illustration and is a published junior fiction novelist, book illustrator, poet, and long-standing presenter of television arts and crafts segments.
For this BraveArt work Fifi wanted to represent the feeling of flying at speed, which she imagined Paula would have while cycling. She said "With Paula being a Paralympic gold medal cyclist, I wanted to convey something of what that feeling of riding would be like. Light as air, free from constraints, floating off into the breeze, like dandelion seeds. Nature and mechanics working as one." Fifi created her fly-away dandelions emanating from a central seed head like the spokes of a wheel. Entitled Spokeswoman, this BraveArt work was finished on the same day as another of her friends underwent a mastectomy for breast cancer.
Fifi has created 21 entries over 20 years in the World of Wearable Arts show, several of them award winners.
Her latest book Wearable Wonders for young people, has been shortlisted for the 2014 NZ Post Children’s and Young Adult’s Book Awards. Her 2011 WoW entry Vena Immaculata told the story of the deadly beauty of the breast cancer cell.
She has worked in the film industry as a costumier, puppet maker and illustrator.
She loves all her works seeing them as her “children, and like my children they teach me things” she says.
Having seen too many friends battling breast cancer, and losing one to the disease earlier this year, she is keen to pay homage to these friends with the BraveArt project.
Paula Tesoriero - Cyclist
Paula was a triple medallist in cycling at the Beijing Paralympics.
She won gold in the 500m Time Trial in world record time and returned home with bronze medals in the 3000m Individual Pursuit and Road Time Trial.
She then went on to claim two world championship titles in the following year, and still holds the current world record in the 200m Flying Start.
She was Wellington region Sportswoman of the Year in 2009 and 2010.
Paula was made a member of New Zealand Order of Merit in recognition of her services to cycling.
She retired from international competition last year to focus on her professional career and family. She lives in Wellington with husband Chris, and young son, Samuel.
She is still heavily involved in the sports community as a Board Member of Sport Wellington and a Trustee of the Halberg Disability Sports Foundation.
Paula knows how the struggle with cancer can be challenging, having spent many years in hospital as a child with limb problems, alongside children with cancer.
She is “hugely impressed” with the CanSurvive team’s attitude, and how sport brings them together to overcome personal challenges. “The team have worked damn hard to get to the level they are at, and I am thrilled to be supporting them to compete in Florida.”
“The team’s journey reminds me why I love the Paralympic movement – people coming from all over the world, with stories of battles for survival, to showcase their talent”.