The birds have made numerous stops since they alighted in the fall of 2008, including Washington DC, Europe and the Galápagos Islands and, along with Hengst, have met many new faces.
"I met hundreds and hundreds of people from all walks of life," Hengst tells SFR. "It really seems to touch people in a different way and that seems to be luck of the draw."
The birds, which bear cobalt images and silk-screened text regarding war and peace—newspaper articles, pictures, poems, memoirs—are evocative.
"There was a guy who walked up to installation and told me about his experience; he was a vet in the Iraq war," Hengst says. "He started kind of crying while he was talking, and it was clear something had touched and opened up for him. "
In Los Alamos, "a guy who worked at the labs for years was looking at stuff about missile development, and he totally connected with it and was excited about it," she says.
In the Galápagos, the interest was not in the birds' reaction to people but, rather, their interactions with the islands' unique species. "Amazing photos came out of that," Hengst says.
Hengst attributes the wide range of reactions to the surprise of installation art.
"It's art that people just stumble upon in the midst of everything else. All of a sudden, there's an opening when they see something in the middle of the day unexpectedly and coming from a different angle."
To see see all the angles and where the birds have been, check out birdsinthepark.blogspot.com.
Birds in the Park
8 am-6pm Friday and Saturday
Guadalupe Street and Paseo de Peralta
6 pm Thursday
Santa Fe Art Institute
1600 St. Michael's Drive