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The Student News Site of Marlborough School

The UltraViolet

The Student News Site of Marlborough School

The UltraViolet

MIX students explore identity through art

Dinah Yorkin
Artwork from the MIX affinity group’s art show.

The Spring Art Show premiered on April 22 and featured the Multiracial Identity Exchange, or MIX, an affinity group for multiracial members of the Marlborough Community. The MIX art installation is located in the front hallway of Seaver Gallery and highlights the work of 14 MIX members.

The art installation is based on an exhibition by Kip Fulbeck called “Part Asian, 100% Hapa,” which was first displayed at the Japanese American National Museum in June 2006. While the term “hapa” has historically held many meanings, the Japanese American National Museum defines the term as a slang word that describes someone of mixed racial heritage with partial roots in Asian and/or Pacific Islander ancestry. Fulbeck’s project is a series of portraits of multiracial individuals taken from the collarbone up without clothing, jewelry, smiles or makeup to deliberately mimic photos taken for different forms of identification. Along with their portrait, each person wrote their short answer to the question “What are you?” on a piece of paper to accompany their photograph.

To celebrate the 15-year anniversary of Fulbeck’s original project, the subjects were rephotographed and a commemorative book documented the subject’s changing self-identification through including a new answer to “What are you?” Marlborough’s commemorative project consists of photos of different MIX community members who chose to participate, paired with their written answer to the question of “Who am I?” The installation aims to display the variety of identities within the Marlborough community. It also seeks to explore the deeper layers of identity that go beyond physical appearance. When asked about her vision for the art installation, MIX co-leader Taryn Amundson ’25 spoke about what she anticipates this installation will bring to the Marlborough community.

“I hope people can better understand that there’s no right answer to exploring who you are,” Admunson said. “We have 14 pieces going up and 14 different ways that people think of themselves.” The installation is thought-provoking and pushes Marlborough community members to think of their own answers to the question “Who am I?” Overall, the project provides a space for identity reflection and to celebrate diversity and inclusivity within Marlborough.

“There’s so many differences among us,” Amundson said. “I think that’s something we should celebrate.”

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