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Cancer Society WOWed by artwork

The Cancer Society of New Zealand was wowed by Auckland artist Oliver Cain’s entry into this year’s World of WearableArt (WOW) Awards.

Cain’s entry ‘Hope’, created from more than 19,000 recycled yellow fabric daffodil pins donated by the Cancer Society, was a finalist in the 2023 awards in the Open section.   

Three months of sewing produced the vibrant yellow outfit that is a reflection on the beauty and fragility of life, while also celebrating the resilience of people and families affected by cancer. Hope also draws attention to the transformation of recycled materials and the importance of sustainable living.  

Cain says as an artist he is passionate about creating works that are visually striking, while at the same time, have great meaning and often a personal connection.

“A significant event in my life was having grandparents battle cancer and eventually pass away because of this terrible disease. I’ve also witnessed friends and acquaintances battle with cancer and their strength and resilience in the face of such adversity inspired me to create an artwork that would honour their fight, persistence and memory, while raising awareness of the battle against cancer.”

The Cancer Society no longer uses fabric pins for its annual Daffodil Day street appeal, having made an environmentally conscious move to a paper product in 2022. In recent years the remaining stock of fabric daffodil pins have been used in a number of artistic endeavours – including in fashion garments designed by Whitecliffe College (Auckland) and Ara Institute (Canterbury) students.

Cain says over the three-month construction time, each pin was deconstructed, and the fabric petal parts sewn together to make long strands of yellow daffodil ribbon. He describes the process of cutting to length and hand sewing the daffodil ribbon onto yellow dyed overalls as “a cathartic experience”.

“Arranging each strand of daffodils in their designated spot kept the message and meaning behind each flower at the front of my mind. This generated a powerful feeling and has left a lasting impression. It has been clear to see that each daffodil represents the hope of many individuals who do and will battle with cancer.”

Cancer Society Chief Executive Rachael Hart says while the entry may not have received a place on awards night it is a winner in the Society’s eyes for its strong message of hope and strength.  “It’s a beautiful symbol of the great power that comes by pulling together in the face of adversity.”


  • The World of WearableArt (WOW) team announced on Thursday (28 September) a special charity ticket offer inspired by ‘Hope’. Ticket buyers are encouraged to use the voucher code ‘DAFFODIL’ when booking for the Tuesday 3 October performance of the 2023 WOW Show: BEYOND because, for every one of these tickets sold, WOW will donate 50% of net proceeds to the Cancer Society. The 33rd WOW Show runs until 8 October at Wellington’s TSB Arena. Tickets are available at