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Kip Fulbeck, portraits from part asian, 100% hapa

Kip Fulbeck, portraits from part asian, 100% hapa (2006), digital colour photograph [Nikkei National Museum, Burnaby BC, Sep 13-Jan 4]

Kip Fulbeck: part asian, 100% hapa

Nikkei National Museum
Burnaby BC – Sep 13, 2014-Jan 4, 2015

Conceptual art projects take numerous forms, but at the heart of every one of them lies the idea.

For artist Kip Fulbeck, the idea for his Hapa Project was to have a participant of mixed-race heritage pose for a photo – naked “from the collarbone up” – and then, below the resulting picture, show a handwritten response to the question, What are you? For some of the subjects, the answer is “I am a person”; for others, such as the artist himself, the answer is “I am exactly the same as every other person in 2500 [A.D.].”

The Hapa Project (hapa being the Hawaiian word for people with “partial roots in Asian and/or Pacific Islander ancestry”) is now in its 14th year. It contains hundreds of portraits and has toured numerous galleries and museums. The idea came to Fulbeck when, before 2000, the United States government allowed its citizens to check only one box to describe their racial identity – a situation that, for the artist, “boils down to picking your mom or dad.”

Michael Turner

 Sun, Sep 7, 2014