ha • pa (ha’pa)
- adj. slang. of mixed racial heritage with partial roots in asian and/or pacific islander ancestry.
- n. slang. a person of such ancestry. [der./hawaiian: hapa haole. (half white)]
Organized by the Japanese American National Museum, kip fulbeck: part asian, 100% hapa is an exhibition of portraits by award-winning filmmaker and artist Kip Fulbeck. Originally a derogatory label derived from the Hawaiian word for half, the word Hapa has been embraced as a term of pride by many whose mixed-race heritage includes Asian or Pacific Rim ancestry. This exhibition was first displayed at the National Museum from June 8 through October 29, 2006.
In 2003, Fulbeck began traveling the country photographing more than 1,000 multiracial individuals of all ages and walks of life. Fulbeck’s work seeks to address in words and images the one question that Hapa are frequently asked: “What are you?” The photographs are all taken the same way—from the collarbone up, without clothing, jewelry, glasses, makeup, or even a smile—a deliberate play upon and critique of the official photographs everyone has taken for driver’s licenses, passports and other forms of identification.
The unique aspect of these images is that they are paired with each participant’s response in his/her own handwriting to the question “What are you?” The subjects vary in age, gender and background and the statements reflect the many and varied experiences of the subjects.
By pairing portraits of Hapa along with their handwritten statements on who they are, Fulbeck has produced powerful yet intimate expressions of beauty and identity. kip fulbeck: part asian, 100% hapa is an artist’s attempt to explore Hapa—who now number in the millions—and it offers a complex perspective on an increasing reality of contemporary America.
The Los Angeles presentation of this exhibition was made possible in part through major support from Mariko O. Gordon & Hugh A. Cosman, The James Irvine Foundation, Michael & Karen Otamura Schneickert, and the Wells Fargo Foundation. Public programs were supported, in part, by the Department of Cultural Affairs, City of Los Angeles. Media sponsors are KSCI-TV, Los Angeles Downtown News, and The Rafu Shimpo.