Nikté Lopez-Aleshire ’26

Studio Art
Oakland, CA

The Birchbark Home
Fall 2022

“My favorite children’s novel growing up was The Birchbark House by Louise Erdrich, which follows the life of an Anishinaabe family. Since then, she has become my favorite author as I have explored her adult novels. Although I’m from California, I grew up visiting family in New England, where birch trees are abundant, and I always associated them with my childhood. It was interesting to replicate the papery bark out of another kind of paper itself. In doing so, I thought about the appearance of the sculpture’s structure and how the shadows would project on the wall with dramatic lighting. I added embellishments such as leaves, insect wings, and notches to elevate these shadows. These elements play into the whimsical composition that is reminiscent of childhood.”


Red Matter
Fall 2022
Altered branch from the Smith Arboretum, reed, wire, string, tissue, bristol, and paint

“This piece was inspired by a plant from the Caladium plant family found in the greenhouse. I was fascinated by its bright red splotches in contrast to the green on the rest of the leaves. It reminded me of a port wine stain birthmark, and the veins of the leaf reminded me of creases on a human palm. Noticing these parallels between human and plant anatomy inspired me to use my hand prints to create the red patches on the leaves. I was intrigued by the spiral fashion that the leaves grow, which influenced my decision to arrange my recreated leaves around a helical structure of wire wrapped in string. The base was cut from a branch, and the center coincidentally mimics the shapes of the leaves.”


Fit to Scale
Fall 2022

“A hanging plant inspired me in the greenhouse called Ceratostema rauhii. I was instantly drawn to its green, scale-like leaves that reminded me of a reptile. I wanted to mimic this effect with the reeds and tissue paper. To achieve this, I glued the reeds into triangles and laid tissue paper panels on top before drilling holes into the branch and inserting them. The transparency also reflects how the plant catches the sunlight in the greenhouse. To contrast the sharp edges, I added a couple of spirals on the branch’s notches.”