Kauai High junior is finalist in Honolulu art contest

LIHUE — China Yasay’s oil painting is a finalist in Shriners Hospitals for Children — Honolulu’s “Under the Sea” Art Contest.

“I was really surprised because this is only the second art contest I’ve entered,” the Kauai High School junior told The Garden Island. “I didn’t think I would have much of a chance so I just went for it.”

One of only eight finalists in her category chosen from thousand of entries, Yasay’s oil painting stood out among the competition, which gave her the courage to stand in front of her advanced drawing and painting class to present it.

“She spoke so eloquently about what the painting meant to her, so when she presented to her class, she stood up on a stool so everyone could see her,” said Susan Warren, Yasay’s art teacher. “For someone as shy as she is to speak with such eloquence, it was like her voice came through her painting. It was so powerful.”

Over the past couple months, Yasay has been asking Warren for contests to enter so she can beef up her resume and college applications. Yasay is looking toward a future in art.

“She’s excited about it. She’s very interested in art and she’s looking forward to pursuing her career in art,” said Yasay’s mother, Colette. “I want to support her in any way so any chance she has, I tell her go for it and get herself out there.”

Doing that for this contest took some effort. Pieces for the competition had to be submitted before Feb. 21, but as Feb. 20 was President’s Day, the post office was closed.

When Yasay realized this, she called Warren Friday evening and explained the dilemma. Warren got up Saturday morning to go to her classroom to get the painting for Yasay, who then had to take it to the post office with her mother to mail the painting to Honolulu before noon on Saturday.

It was a mad scramble in the end, but Yasay’s hard work is paying off.

“Every artist knows the feeling of putting your heart and effort into something and getting recognition for it. We all want to know that feeling,” she said.

If Yasay is the overall contest winner, Kauai High will receive $1,000 from Friends of Shriners.

The awards ceremony will be held in Honolulu on April 8.

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