Interim Staff

Jiang Jie was born in Beijing, China in 1963. She was educated at the Arts and Crafts School of Beijing and at the Central Academy of Fine Arts in Beijing, where she is currently an associate professor in the Department of Sculpture. The Toronto Sculpture Garden is on King Street, just east of Church Street, and is operated by the City of Toronto’s Department of Parks and Recreation. Exhibits generally remain for several months.

“Babies are the starting point of my artwork,” says Jiang-Jie. “Being a Chinese woman of child-bearing age, this is not surprising. The Chinese one-child policy, started in 1956, was an ambitious population-control program that used propaganda, social pressure, and in some cases, coercion to influence its citizens.

“The government rewarded those who observed the policy and penalized those who did not. Couples with only one child were given a ‘certificate’ entitling them to such benefits as cash bonuses, longer maternity leave, better child care and preferential houses. In return, they would pledge not to have more children. Naturally, babies themselves became a symbol for this controversial program.

“My first work, exhibited in 1994, called ‘Breakable Objects,’ revealed the fragile condition of infants … pure, innocent, fragile, vulnerable and unable to self-defend. The work at the Toronto Sculpture Garden goes a little bit further by combining a baby’s face and an adult’s smile. This critical juxtaposition implies something beyond a child’s experience and suggests a universality that transcends the limitations of age. In Be, the baby’s face expresses inquisitive hope and yearning for the future and a palpable sense of puzzlement and fear.