Diana Beltran Herrera hand-makes the paper birds by building up layers to form the base structure, then glues on delicate feathers that are curled and splayed once attached. Wire legs are added and feathers are painted to make the models as realistic as possible. Each model takes from 5 days to 2 weeks to complete depending on size and complexity.
The mechanics are impressive, and the end results are truly lovely, but the birds represent to Herrera a way to address the disengagement of humanity from nature in an urban milieu. Here’s a pertinent passage from a recent Smithsonian interview.
“I had this knowledge of things living around me, but did I really know about them? I decided that it was time to play again, to rediscover the place where I was living.”
Herrera’s explorations began with birds. She observed local birds in her city of Bogotá and did Internet research on these species, identifying them and learning about their behavior and habitat. The artist also met with members of an ornithology group that provided more information.
“I discovered that I was living in a city full of nature, but somehow the traffic and modernism never allowed me to see what was living in there,” says Herrera. “With time, I started to find those plants, animals and life in general and felt astonished about each single thing, but the most recurrent animal was always the bird.”
Be sure to have a look at her projects page to see some of her stunning commission work, but first, enjoy these fantastic images. If you like what you see, and will be in Berlin this spring, Herrera will be participating in this year’s Pictoplasma Festival.
More after the jump…