The Red Sea: “Lucky Red” by Jackie Bagley


In a recent trip to China, I received my adopted daughter, one of more than 1,000,000 babies who are abandoned each year in China (almost entirely girls). This show’s focus is to build a story for her and for the other millions of girls who have been abandoned since the One Child policy began in China, wrapped up in an exploration of China’s growing modern economics against its firmly rooted traditional culture. These abandonments are done in secret to avoid punishment and the mothers’ identities are never known. The show will tell the stories of young mothers who have given up their children, in order to comply with the One Child Policy, an inside look into the secret lives of these women in China. It is a body of work which seeks to unite mothers’ stories with a “discardable gender” of no story, bringing value and life to the stories of women through visual arts and digital media/video. I am intrigued by the courage and love that a woman has, who will carry her child, and then risk not just abandoning it in a public space, or by the wayside, but secretly to an orphanage – to risk punishment, and to choose to hide a pregnancy over ending it. It takes time to absorb the statistics, to understand the impact of the issues at hand, when a comparatively low percentage of girls escape abortion and infanticide, and out of those who are born, and later abandoned, only a fraction are abandoned to orphanages. Fewer yet survive their first year in the orphanage, and of those who do, only a small number are adopted out internationally. One’s mind cannot comprehend the magnitude of whatʼs happening, and of how the fate of these girls is absorbed into the unknown. This show is entitled “Lucky Red”. I look at my daughter with a sense of deep grief and overwhelming gratitude - grief at the absence of her story, which I so desperately want to know but have no information on - and for her mother’s loss. And gratitude that her life was spared, and that she was one of so few chosen for oversees adoption. As much as I don’t want her to grow up carrying any of this herself, I can’t seem to let go of wanting to know and transmit as much of the stories as possible. She was not part of the “river of Red blood” of abortions and infanticide. She is “Lucky Red” - a symbol of joy, truth, prosperity, dignity, mystery, as the color Red in China implies. And “Red” is also the irony of the loss of ”luck”, “joy”, and “prosperity” for her biological mother. This show began with just images - photos - taken in China, using photographic film that accentuates the color Red, to be printed onto large sheets of aluminum. It is still in its infancy, with the research phase just underway, but its vision has grown to become “Lucky Red”, an Art Installation that will include video, motion graphics, and sculpture, as a means of bringing the stories to light. The Grant money will be used to create this show.


For 12 years Jackie Bagley worked in the Film Industry on Film and Television Productions as varied as Art film (shown at the MOMA in New York), right through to Hollywood Productions produced by names such as Steven Spielberg, Brad Pitt, Warner Bros., Disney, Ridley Scott. Capacities included dealing with networks, producers, directors, actors, and coordinating various heads of departments, and working as a Production Designer, Art Director and/or Assistant Art Director. Prior to this she worked as a Corporate Graphic Designer for Western Canada’s largest Design and Advertising agency, and has serviced National Canadian clients such as Telus Communications, Canadian Airlines, Gulf Canada Resources Limited, CN Railway, Health Canada, National Energy Board of Canada, National Lotteries. As a Visual Artist, her studio practice includes group shows in New York, and Toronto. She presently teaches Design at ACAD (Alberta College of Art and Design).


see the powerful video component of one of her past Art Installations here:

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Stop and think what does this mean

To stop and think about the thing happening to she

Born out of her mother whom is it a he or she

What shall I do shall I keep my she

To respect my pride and my family name

I must do the right thing and send her away.


A law that I must keep