The Japanese American Museum of Oregon Celebrates 15 Years of The Hapa Project

Kip Fulbeck, best known for his photographs of Asian Pacific Islander Americans, will give a talk at the museum on Sunday, May 21.

Kip Fulbeck, the creator of The Hapa Project (for which he photographed 1,200 multiracial Asian Pacific Islander Americans), is coming to the Japanese American Museum of Oregon, which is celebrating the 15th anniversary of the project with a new exhibition opening this weekend.

“Hapa” is the Hawaiian transliteration of “half,” and used to refer to people of mixed ancestry. The goal of The Hapa Project is to “foster positive identity formation in multiracial children,” according to the Japanese American Museum. In addition to being photographed, Fulbeck’s subjects were asked to submit written responses to a familiar question: “What are you?” (Fulbeck’s ethnic background is English, Welsh, Irish and Cantonese.)

The exhibition will open with the Friends of JAMO Preview and Reception, with Fulbeck in attendance, on Saturday, May 20. An Artist Talk With Kip Fulbeck will follow on Sunday, May 21, with a Who Are You? identity workshop slated for Saturday, June 24.

The Hapa Project comes to the museum at a time of change. A new executive director, Hanako Wakatsuki-Chong, was announced earlier this month, following the retirement of Lynn Fuchigami Parks in 2021.

Wakatsuki-Chong is a public historian, political scientist, and museologist who in 2022 served as the White House’s Asian American, Native Hawaiian, and Pacific Islander policy adviser.

In a press release, Wakatsuki-Chong said: “I am excited to return to the Pacific Northwest and have the opportunity to honor my ancestors who settled in Oregon. It is a great privilege and honor to have this opportunity to lead the efforts set forth by my predecessor, Lynn Fuchigami Parks, and to take JAMO into the next step in its evolution.”

Willamette Week's journalism is funded, in part, by our readers. Your help supports local, independent journalism that informs, educates, and engages our community. Become a WW supporter.