Right after the earthquake, I went there (…). And then I realized that everywhere were these school bags of the children scattered around. (…) Because the bags were so vivid and colorful, they made a reallly strong impression on me. They are so closely related to the physical condition of the kids. So I wanted to design a work of art related to that. (…) Now I am using the bags to form a sentence, which was stated by a dead student’s mother who wrote to me. (…) The sentence we will put up on the front of the building is:
“She lived happily in this world for seven years,” a sentence from a victim’s mother. She is very kind, she does not have much to say about all this and she just wants her daughter to be remembered. And of course we see all kinds of tragedies in this world, but I think the worst tragey is the disrespect for life.
Das sagte Ai Weiwei 2009 im Gespräch mit Mathieu Wellner in Bejing 2009 über die bevorstehende Ausstellung in München. Er erinnerte mit einer Installation aus bunten Schulrucksäcken an die unzähligen (und bis heute ungezählten) Schulkinder, die durch das Erdbeben in Sichuan im Mai 2008 ihr Leben verloren, weil die meisten Schulgebäude einfach in sich zusammenfielen.