Mahalo for your entry and all your support!

The 23rd Honolulu Festival Art Contest called for entries in June of 2016. This contest was opened to all residents of Hawaii including school students. The artwork should incorporate the main theme of the Honolulu Festival “Pacific Harmony” and this year’s sub-theme, “Cultural Harmony, Journey to Peace”. We received a total of 35 artworks! Each of them was put into a vote through our Facebook Page and among the members of the Honolulu Festival Committee. Also, Kuni Yamamoto who is the president and art director of Clarence Lee Design & Associates was invited as a special juror for the art contest. We are pleased to announce the following five winners!

Award Categories

1. Honolulu Festival Official Artist 2017 : Ryoko Sakamaki

2. Special Recognition Award : Gina Watanabe

3. High School Prize : Kathleen Bareiszis

4. Junior High School Prize : Cosette Wu

5. Elementary School Prize : Joshua Dela Cruz

The Honolulu Festival Official Artist 2017, Ryoko Sakamaki’s artwork will be used as the main visual for the poster, flyer and official guide book.

All the artwork will be displayed inside the Hawaii Convention Center during the Honolulu Festival period. Please come to see their wonderful artworks ! Mahalo for your entry and all your support !

Honolulu Festival Official Artist 2017

Ryoko Sakamaki

Born in Kochi Prefecture, Japan, Ryoko Sakamaki graduated from the Kyoto University of Art and Design with a degree in Japanese painting. Afterwards, she managed her own cafe where she met her husband who is from Hawaii. She moved to Hawaii after her marriage. Currently, she is raising her two children and working as an illustrator for the Japanese company during her spare time. Her hobbies are reading books, drawing pictures and traveling. Although she quit drawing for a while since she graduated from university, she recognized that the art is her life by resuming her drawing career. She said she would like to vigorously continue to draw in the future.

About Artwork:

In this melting pot of Hawaii we have a unique culture based in the spirit of Aloha. There is so much diversity here, but through the spirit of Aloha we overcome our differences in nationalities, languages, and cultures to all live together in harmony. I hope the Aloha spirit can spread beyond these islands to the entire world. In my mother country of Japan, an important value we hold is ‘wa no kokoro,’ the Japanese spirit of harmony (harmony=’wa’ in Japanese). If we can respect each others differences and live in the spirits of aloha and harmony, this world will be a very happy place. By joining our hands together we can create a ring (ring=’wa’ in Japanese) of aloha and harmony around the world. This is what I want to express through this drawing

Message from Tsukasa Harufuku, President of the Honolulu Festival Foundation:

“The Hawaiian word ALOHA is a five-letter acronym” is what the local Hawaiian taught me right after I moved to Hawaii for my new post. He told me it stands for…
A…Akahai (grace)

L… =Lokahi (unity)

O…Oluolu (gentle)

H…Haahaa (humility)

A…Ahonui (patience)

Those are the meanings of the word “ALOHA”. The first thing that caught my attention about this artwork was the word inside the heart. Also, the people from various countries are holding hands with another while using the background of the Hawaiian Islands, which this artwork depicts harmony. It represents the sub-theme of this year’s Honolulu Festival “Cultural Harmony, Journey to Peace” that touches our heart. Our theme is for people to respect the differences of others and share perspectives with one another through various activities of the Honolulu Festival for world peace Therefore, this wonderful piece of artwork successfully depicting its concept. I would like to recognize Ryoko Sakamaki as the Honolulu Festival Official Artist 2017 with a feeling of Aloha.

Special Recognition Award

Gina Watanabe

Born and raised in Hawaii, Gina has always been interested in art, computers, and the natural sciences. Currently a college freshman majoring in Biology at the University of Hawaii at Manoa, Gina desires to integrate art and design into everything she pursues. In addition to her love for her artistic hobbies, Gina enjoys immersing herself in many cultures and is excited for the festivities of the upcoming Honolulu Festival.

About Artwork:HonoluluFestivalProfilePicture

At every year that I attend the Honolulu festival, I am vibrantly greeted by a cheerful celebration that always reminds me of the harmonious diversity that we have here in Hawaii. What sticks out to me most are the popping colors of the many different cultures. From the clothing of historic cultural traditions to that of instruments or weapons specific to each culture, many feelings are conveyed just through color. In this piece, I tried to capture the theme of “Pacific Harmony” and “Cultural Harmony, Journey to Peace” by utilizing a multitude of colors and focusing on geometric simplicity to represent the very beautiful, easy-going, and uncomplicated way that our cultures are able to melt together here. Symbols of peace, celebration, and harmony are acknowledged through representations of nature, people, and the iconic fireworks of the Honolulu Festival.

Message from Kuni Yamamoto as the the special guest juror:

This beautiful piece of artwork visually expresses the theme of the Honolulu Festival “Pacific Harmony, Cultural Harmony, Journey to Peace.” It uses color with a unique expression technique which is well-composed. Also, I can sense the message of hope for the future from Hawaii through this artwork.

The flying birds from the hands of a Hawaiian woman are as if they are spreading peace across the land of Hawaii to the world. The five circles in the picture may represent the five continents. Also, each color of the circle represents a different culture, which depicts a wish to make way for love and peace through cultural exchange in Hawaii. In addition, the birds that symbolizing peace and hair of a woman that leading the peaceful path of love were emphasized with black color which leave a strong message of harmony.

Furthermore, this artwork is superb in a way that the contrast is well-balanced. Its lower part expresses Hawaii with analog patterns which depict the warmth and kindness. On the other hand, the upper part of the artwork expresses peace and bright future with digital patterns. These two different patterns create a fine contrast within the artwork. At the same time, the overall contrast of the artwork is adjusted by balancing the intensity and saturation of the color on the upper and lower part of the image, which the artwork becomes perfection. I would like to select this wonderful piece of artwork for the Special Recognition Award. Congratulations!

High School Prize / Junior High School Prize / Elementary School Prize

High School Prize: Kathleen Bareiszis

About Artwork:

In my art piece I wanted to convey the feelings of Hawaii that everyone can agree on. The welcoming warmth and feeling of community is what sets Hawaii apart from other places! Everyone is diverse in every aspect and the respect that mostly everyone has for each other is so respectable and beautiful. I looked to the website for inspiration and I knew I wanted to incorporate the logo of Honolulu festival into my design. Then I looked at all the pictures and saw all the cultures represented and felt the sense of unity just looking at all the pictures. The smiles of everyone who attended and the obvious friendships forged are so prevalent it moved me to recreate those magical feelings in my piece as well. In Hawaii we are so blessed to be in an accepting and diverse place. Living in Hawaii is like a journey all in its self, which is why I added the bridge in my piece to show and highlight the iconic scenery that we have to offer! I hope when others look at my piece they will feel the same feelings of friendship and warmth I feel on a daily basis living in such a marvelous and spectacular place.

Junior High School Prize: Cosette Wu

Cosette Wu

About Artwork:

I drew a sunset over the ocean with a palm tree and a bird. The bird symbolizes peace and harmony because it is flying high over the ocean. I created the bird as flying over the ocean because the ocean connects every country and island in the Pacific.The sun in my artwork is shining light to all living things, which includes plants, animals, and humans. My favorite part of my artwork is the background of blue, purple, pink, orange, and yellow blending together. I drew this because I wanted to show how even though the colors are different, they still blend and combine really well, showing cultural harmony. This is just like the different cultures in the Pacific that fit together and complement each other.

Elementary School Prize: Joshua Dela Cruz

About Artwork:

The message I am trying to send is that everyone should have more peace than hate.  God’s hands are there because he can renew us.  The islands are connected to the heart because peace and love can connect us together.  “God’s love connects us all.”

Special Guest Juror


President & Art Director of Clarence Lee Design & Associates

Born in Japan, Kuni Yamamoto graduated from Osaka University of Arts with a Bachelor of Fine Arts Degree. He has over 19 years of experience in brand identities, promotions, packaging, websites as well as the spatial design. He recently worked with the Hilton Grand Vacations in creating marketing tools and brochures. Also, he assisted in designing a brochure and others for the DFS Galleria. Also, he designed the official Youtube channel of the Hawaii Tourism Japan called “HiTube”. Furthermore, Kuni has produced the total design packaging, promotional and advertisement tools for the new brand “Baba’s Coffee”. Also, he designed JTB Hawaii’s trolley called the ‘OLI‘OLI Walker, which he handled all the designs from the characters, vehicle graphics and so forth. In addition, he designed the interior of the ‘OLI‘OLI Station in Ala Moana. He also worked at one of the biggest design firms in the western part of Japan called AIDMA. His clients included some of Japan’s most prestigious companies such as Panasonic and NTT Group. He moved to Hawaii in 2005 and joined Clarence Lee Design & Associates as the Vice President and art director of Graphic Design Division. Then, he established and managing the International Division and the Web Division. Later, he became the new president of Clarence Lee Design & Associates after the retirement of the founder, Clarence Lee.

Recently, Kuni received the AAF Pele Awards from 2009 through 2016 for 8 consecutive years, which recognizes the best advertising and design work created in Hawaii. Also, he received the AIGA Hawaii’s 5-0 Design Award for 3 consecutive times (2011, 2013, 2015) which is being held in alternate years. In addition, his work was selected as the top 5 design in Hawaii.

Kuni founded the 111-Hawaii Project which is an officially certified project endorsed by the Hawaii Tourism Authority. It was established to mark the 50 year anniversary of Clarence Lee Design & Associates and to contribute in the local businesses by developing their products, which will revitalize the local communities as well.


Member of the American Institute of Graphic Artists (AIGA)

Member of the Japan Graphic Designers Association (JAGDA)