Institut Ramon LLull

LOST…Everywhere: video art by Rosa Pascual on view in New York

Arts.  New York, 14/03/2024

Children, mothers and siblings looking for one another, others not knowing they exist or believed to be dead, and others that will never be able to find one another. Thousands of cases of stolen children in Spain took place between the late thirties and early nineties. Newborn babies were stolen from single or undesirable mothers. They were told that their babies were dead, while being sold to pro-Franco Regime ‘model’ or favorable families.

Those transactions were organized and run by the Catholic Church, a network of private and public hospitals, maternity wards, and the Franco Regime. There is an ongoing legal battle with the Ministry of Justice in the Spanish Government to unseal and allow access to files. Fake birth and death certificates were produced, and fake funerals and burials were held, erasing any possibility of tracing back biological mothers by erasing their names from all documents, all in the name of law and social welfare.

Lost is a video installation based on this theme. The displayed data show full names and dates of birth of the Spanish Stolen Children that have provided their details, as well as mothers and other relatives searching for their “dead babies” and the presumed dates of death or disappearance they were given. The project is coordinated by National organizations dealing with victims and possible matches via a DNA bank.


While Spanish Stolen Babies are spread worldwide, similar situations have been and are still happening at an International level. There are the well-known Irish cases also coordinated by the Catholic Church, while in the United Kingdom single pregnant mothers were enclosed and imposed forced labor by the Protestant and Anglican Church; once they gave birth and were told their babies were “missing”, those babies were secretly given to so-called “proper” families. From the sixties to the eighties in Germany, we find the DDR political cleansing adoption irregularities involving communist mothers and the Republic, while in Cambodia babies were stolen from intellectuals and given to farmers. In Australia, there have been numerous and forced adoptions for ethnic cleansing purposes. In other countries like Russia, both pregnant mothers and their unwanted children are, these days, abused in the orphanages where they live. And one of the most incredible cases is in the US, where adopted child exchange is legal in the majority of states for parents that are not happy with their “purchase”. Another relatively recent and poignant irregularity in the US involve immigrant children being detained at its Southern border with Mexico. On the other hand, Mexico has its own adoption irregularities, with some 33.000 presumed homeless children given in adoption annually.

Rosa Pascual

Rosa Pascual is a socially engaged multidisciplinary visual artist with a passion for exploring the intersections of art, community, and identity. Over the past twenty-eight years, Rosa has cultivated her artistic practice in vibrant cities such as London, Barcelona, Finland, and Berlin. With a background in photography, media studies, scenography, and storytelling, Rosa's work encompasses a conceptual and visually captivating approach. She has delved into various mediums, ranging from installations to video-dance and live performances.

Rosa Pascual was born in Barcelona and lives and works in London.


April 2-3, 2024

KJCC-NYU Auditorium, 53 Washington Square South, New York

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