As a piece of public art, it’s not out of place with the Wrangler painted blue jeans statues lining Elm Street or the hanging flowers suspended overhead, at least at first glance.
Fashioned like a giant, pulsing heart, with plastic cemetery flowers and streams of tissue paper fleshing out the crimson, mauve and fuchsia hues of the organ, it’s tempting to ignore, as just another piece of whimsical beautification in downtown Greensboro. But the murmuring sound of a woman’s voice, disembodied but insistent hangs in the air.
Is this thing speaking to me?
Yes. Yes, it is.
A diorama tucked inside the flowery edifice, not more than six inches wide, shows a Barbie-like brown doll seated upright, her legs covered in an aluminum blanket. A screen of chicken wire separates her from gawking spectators.
Created by Empanada Consulting — described as “a newly formed collective of social artists” — with assistance from members of Siembra NC, the piece was installed overnight from July 3 to July 4 at the corner of Elm and Washington streets.
The recorded voices playing from a device installed in the sculpture — apparently a male interlocutor interviewing a female artist — are slightly muffled and difficult to discern, forcing passersby to lean in and listen closely.
“If I had a child, I would and I will do anything that would make her life better,” the woman says. “I can’t begrudge other people that. Anyone who has kids, how can you begrudge that?”
The piece is mostly overlooked during the Freedom Run 10K, which started at 7:30 a.m., as runners trundle past and family members cheer them on.
“Flowers!” a child in a jogging stroller exclaims.
“They’re so pretty, aren’t they?” her mother responds.