Chinese lucky red envelopes are given during special occasions and times of celebration as markers of good luck and happiness. Filled with money and lacking any written message, they embody the pragmatic Chinese way of expressing love: to the point- a gift that is practical and never sentimental. Growing up as a Chinese-Canadian minority in a predominantly Caucasian environment, I found it difficult reconciling what I had been taught was love with how it was expressed by my peers and on the television.
Lucky Pockets is an interactive performance that aims to reclaim the facelessness of the lucky red envelope and to humanize it again. Each viewer that enters the gallery is given a lucky red envelope. Each red packet carries a message, like “It’s ok that you never applied to medical school. I’m just proud of you for being you.” or “You don’t need to grow out your hair to be beautiful. You don’t need to be quite anymore.”, meant to find humour in the limitations erected by traditional Chinese culture, while destroying the notion that Chineseness is only achieved in one way.
Lucky Pockets will be shown at the Center for Craft, Creativity & Design in Asheville, North Carolina this upcoming September 2017.