National Exhibit to Feature Nicholls Professor’s Art on Motherhood

Hidden Support

THIBODAUX, La. — A national art exhibition will feature works from Nicholls State University Associate Professor of Art, Trisha Rabalais, this month.

The two pieces, titled “Finding Peace” and “Hidden Support,” will be on display during the Upstream Gallery’s 8th Annual Layers of Time: PaperWorks National Juried Exhibition. The exhibit will run through July 25.

Finding Peace

“Making artists’ books signifies the beginning and the end of particular moments in my life,” Rabalais said. “They are often intimate reflections of a triumph or a tragedy. When my work is accepted into an exhibition, I feel as though someone else was able to relate to those reflections in a way that allowed them to recall some aspect of their own memories that are often felt, often touched, but are rarely spoken.”

Rabalais said the love and loss she has experienced as a mother served as her inspiration.

“In 2014, we lost our daughter a month after she was born. I knew I had to be strong for our other two children. But I was incredibly unsure how to navigate this new role of being a mother to two living children and one who passed away,” she said. “I wanted to make her presence a part of everyday life without it being shrouded in sadness. Making this series of books helped me to cope with her loss and, essentially, make my peace with it all.”

Rabalais created her paper with banana leaf paper and paper clay in the papermaking studio in Talbot Hall. To make the paper, she dried and cooked down banana leaves before turning them to a pulp. Paper clay is the combination of wet paper pulp and air-dry clay.

“We are very fortunate to have a fantastic papermaking studio here on campus that is accessible to both students and art faculty,” Rabalais said. “It’s an enjoyable place to experiment and discover new ways of creating artwork using paper pulp.”

Opened in 1991, Upstream Gallery is an artist-run exhibition space in Hastings-On-Hudson, New York.

For more information about Nicholls Art, visit

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: Monday, July 12, 2021

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