Kip Fulbeck brings photographs to art gallery for Artist-Lecture series

Artist Kip Fulbeck seeing students work at his Hapa Project gallery in the Juanita Harvey Art Gallery on Nov. 11. Photo by Bridget Reilly

Artist Kip Fulbeck seeing students work at his Hapa Project gallery in the Juanita Harvey Art Gallery on Nov. 11. Photo by Bridget Reilly

Dozens of photographs of self-proclaimed “hapas” gaze upon visitors of the art gallery ever since artist-lecture speaker Kip Fulbeck brought his exhibit upon the “Hapa Project” Nov. 11.

“It’s amazing. It makes me laugh, makes me cry, makes me want to think,” Emily LaBeff, professor of sociology, said.

Fulbeck used the exhibit as the main subject of his lecture. Fulbeck named the project after the Hawaiian word “hapa,” which describes individuals with mixed heritage. The exhibit contains a shirtless shoulders up photograph of individuals Fulbeck found who are self described hapas, staring directly at the camera, along with a paper below which Fulbeck allowed for the photographed individuals to write whatever they wanted down.

While some individuals chose to write down straightforward messages detailing their specific mixed race background, other individuals have taken liberties defining themselves. One child simply drew a picture of an individual along with the word, “mad,” written in all caps, while one individual described themselves as “100% black and 100% Japanese.”

“It’s really interesting to see different perspectives from people and the different perspectives from people and their different backgrounds and what that means to them,” Sandra Cruz, art sophomore, said.

Fulbeck said one of the key messages behind the piece is how individuals take a roll in determining their own identity.

Emily LaBeff, sociology professor, reads one of Kip Fulbeck's Hapa Project gallery photos in the Juanita Harvey Art Gallery on Nov. 11. Photo by Bridget Reilly

Emily LaBeff, sociology professor, reads one of Kip Fulbeck’s Hapa Project gallery photos in the Juanita Harvey Art Gallery on Nov. 11. Photo by Bridget Reilly

“No one gets to tell you who you are but you, and if you don’t do it, they’ll do it wrong,” Fulbeck said.

Fulbeck said his art is influenced by factors such as his life growing up as a mixed race individual and even his time as a swimmer, which he won an award as the athlete of the year for.

“I sort of bring the same mentality of trying to hone everything perfectly to get them [Fulbeck’s artwork] to this point, like my gig tonight, I teach spoken word and my students in that class are required to monitor their food intake, their exercise, their sleep, their sex, etc. for months and their like, ‘Why are we doing this?’ and I’m like you wouldn’t try to take a picture with a dirty lens but they’ll try and perform without getting their body right. So, we have the same mentality of trying to get everything you can to get the best when you can and using every possible variable,” Fulbeck said.

The exhibit marks the first time that an Artist Lecture speaker has brought an exhibit to go along with their speech, and will be open for free to the public until Dec. 2.