The Hapa Project

Artist Kip Fulbeck's portrait project delves into the complex relationship between race and identity for hapas, a growing population in multiracial America.
Kip Fulbeck

"People don't like when you don't fit into a box," says Kip Fulbeck, the artist behind The Hapa Project.

With a series of portraits and handwritten responses to the question "What are you?", artist Kip Fulbeck illuminates the complexities of race and identity with his project—for which he photographed 1,200 people who identify as hapa, 115 of which are featured in his book Part Asian, 100% Hapa.

Hapa, a Hawaiian word that means half, describes multiracial people with partial Asian heritage. Like other multiracial Americans, hapas couldn't acknowledge their heritage on the U.S. census until 2000, when respondents were given the option to select one or more race categories.

Fulbeck's subjects are photographed straight-on without clothing, jewelry, makeup, or expression.

"I want people to be away from the trappings of everyday life, which is the things we do to create an identity," Fulbeck says.

Fulbeck says his book is one he always wished he'd had growing up.

"I’d like those little kids to pick it up and see a lot of other kids like them," he says. "I would like interracial couples to be able to take that and have some kind of inspiration of how to maybe raise their kid in some small way."

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