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hapa.me

15 Years of the hapa project

May 21 – August 13, 2023

Harper
Japanese / Swedish / Norwegian / Irish / German / English
Photos by Kip Fulbeck

The word “hapa” is the Hawaiian transliteration of the English word “half.” Much of its current usage derives from the phrase hapa haole, meaning “half white.” The phrase was originally coined by Native Hawaiians to describe the children resulting from encounters between islanders and white settlers. In subsequent years, hapa (or Hapa) has come into popular usage away from the islands, most frequently embraced by multiracial Asian/Pacific Islander Americans.

Artist Kip Fulbeck created The Hapa Project in 2001, traveling the country to photograph over 1,200 volunteers who identified as Hapa. The Hapa Project’s goal was to promote awareness and recognition of the millions of Hapas in the United States; to give voice to multiracial people and other previously ignored ethnic groups; to dispel myths around exoticism, hybrid superiority, and racial homogeneity; and to foster positive identity formation in multiracial children. In 2006, Fulbeck published the first book and premiered kip fulbeck: part asian, 100% hapa, the first museum exhibition to explicitly explore Hapa identity. The exhibition broke new ground in exploring identity through photographic portraits of multiracial subjects paired with handwritten responses to the typically posed question, “What are you?”

Since then, the number of people in the U.S. who identify as more than one race has grown exponentially, with awareness of multiracial issues dramatically increasing alongside. Fulbeck addresses this progress with his highly anticipated follow-up project, hapa.me. In the new exhibition, the original photographs and statements from the 2006 exhibition are paired with contemporary portraits of the same individuals and newly written statements, showing not only their physical changes over 15 years, but also their changes in perspective and outlook on the world. The stark, plain format of the photographs remains the same, allowing viewers to focus on each subjects’ distinctive features.

In addition, hapa.me includes a new interactive section where viewers can join the community by having their portrait taken and writing their own personal statement. A 200-page, full-color catalog will be available for purchase in the museum store.

Kip Fulbeck is a professor of art at the University of California, Santa Barbara, where he is the recipient of the university’s Distinguished Teaching Award. He has authored five books including Part Asian, 100% Hapa and Mixed: Portraits of Multiracial Kids, and has exhibited his artwork in over 20 countries. Fulbeck has been featured on CNN, MTV, Voice of America, The New York TimesThe Today Show, and various NPR shows.

Exhibition Events:

Friends of JAMO Preview and Reception with artist in attendance
Saturday, May 20, 2-4pm
Japanese American Museum of Oregon
RSVP by May 18 to info@jamo.org or 503-224-1458

Artist Talk with Kip Fulbeck
Sunday, May 21, 2-3pm
220 NW 2nd Ave, 8th Floor, Portland
(in the former NW Natural building)

Identity Workshop: Who Are You?
Saturday, June 24, 2pm Cancelled


The traveling version of hapa.me is curated by Kip Fulbeck and organized by

Generous support for this exhibition at the Japanese American Museum of Oregon has been provided by