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.

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