The human hand is the most precious instrument in the practice of all of the arts. Responsible for the creative output that characterizes the human species which ultimately differentiates us from all other known animals, the hands are, as the German philosopher Kant is often quoted, ”man’s outer brain.”One true master who uses here dexterity to the full is Colombian artist Diana Beltran Herrera who through attaching together little pieces of coloured paper creates the most marvelous bird sculptures. Inspired by the filigree beauty of birds’ wings in motion she recreates three-dimensional collages from nature photographs that are naturalistically replicated through the use of paper.
Despite the fact that her work may seem merely decorative at first, it ultimately emphasizes the vulnerability of nature’s beauty. With her main subjects being primary birds, the other paper-animals she creates are also bestowed with a surreal fragility and sculptural virtuosity. In between the lines of every masterpiece she creates, the message of her work resonates loud and clear: Nature is beautiful! Don`t destroy it.Showing the biodiversity of various bird-species ranging from exotic and luminous hummingbirds all the way through to the humble sparrow, she reminds her audience of the biological richness of planet earth; a richness that will be all but lost if environmental politics do not drastically change. With that said however, Herrera’s work prefers not to point any accusatory fingers, nor does it fulfill an educational role. Instead, it is meant to be inspiring and is all about conveying a message; preserving the abundance and magnificence of nature itself so that we will still be able to watch real life birds soar through the skies without the need of showing future generations paper sculptures of these magnificent creatures instead.