Nik Helbig’s image of this hopeless tired woman represents the willingness of the human race to rely on something so innocent as a bird when feeling desperate and lost.
As the observers, we are instantly drawn to the woman sitting on the bench. She is the largest piece of the painting and stands out in color and texture from the background. She is shoeless and wearing a very basic modest dress, almost blending with the bench. She has greasy hair and is reaching softly into the air with her right hand, waiting for a bird to land on her finger. Although she is reaching up, she does not look where she is reaching. Rather, her head is hung low, causing her to gaze down at her lap.
Secondly, we are drawn to the golden bird in the upper right frame of the image. The bird seems to be attracted and interested in the woman. The bird is flying towards the woman’s raised hand, appearing to plan to land on her finger. The bird stands out to the observer because of its unnatural color and brightness. No bird is such a bright shade of gold in real life, so this catches the eye of any observant viewer. The bird is also much more illuminated than any other detail to the painting. Although the bird is not a physically large part of the painting, it is definitely essential in balancing the lighting and communicating the message the artist wishes to portray.
Nik Helbig is using the woman in this image to show that when we, as humans, get desperate we are willing to put what little faith we have left into a seemingly hopeless cause. The woman in this image is tired, which is why she is sitting on the bench. She is struggling financially, which is why she is bare-footed and wearing plain clothing. She has little to lose by reaching towards the bird with her little energy that remains. This woman, as most of us would be, is not very proud or excited to have to reach out for help. She is humbled and feels that she is below the creature that she is relying on: This is why her hear is bowed towards the ground.
Lastly, the way the bird is facing and the lighting of the background indicates the bird’s willingness to help. The bird sees that it has the value of gold in the girl’s eyes, and wants to lead her to the light. The bird is flying away from the dark corner of the frame and towards the lighter corner. This shows that the bird has also been to a dark place similar to the woman. The bird relates to her struggles and wants to help her. The bird is willing to take the girl’s hand and lead her to a brighter place.
Helbig uses the bird as a symbol of hope and faith, showing the observer that no matter how beat down they may feel, it only takes a little light to shed a path to a better tomorrow.
Helbig, Nik. “Bird Come to me.” Ultimate Paintings. Nik Helbig, 29 Oct. 2009. Web. 1 Oct. 2013. <http://nikhelbig.com/art-blog/2009/10/24/come/>.
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