ha ⋅ pa (ha’pa) adj. 1. Slang. of mixed racial heritage with partial roots in Asian and/or Pacific Islander ancestry. n. 2. Slang. a person of such ancestry. [der./Hawaiian: hapa haole. (half white)]
kip fulbeck: part asian, 100% hapa is an exhibition of portraits by award-winning filmmaker and artist Kip Fulbeck. Originally used as a derogatory label derived from the Hawaiian word for "half," hapa has since been embraced as a term of pride by many whose mixed-race heritage includes Asian or Pacific Rim ancestry.
Five years ago, Kip Fulbeck began traveling the country photographing over 1,000 multiracial individuals of all ages and walks of life. Fulbeck’s work seeks to address in words and images one question that hapa are frequently asked: “What are you?” The photographs are all taken in 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 portraits are paired with each participant’s response—in his or her own handwriting—to the question “What are you?” The sitters vary in age, gender, and background and the statements reflect their varied perspectives. These powerful yet intimate expressions of identity represent Fulbeck’s attempt to explore the complexity and the diversity of hapa individuals—who now number in the millions. This exhibition offers a complex perspective on an increasing reality of contemporary America.