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Hailing from the Colombian city of Bogotá, Herrera has been fascinated by birds ever since her mother brought home a pair of them when she was a girl. “I loved them, but I began to be concerned about them. Surely these animals have a reason to exist besides just being put in a cage?” she remembers. “When I went outside, I saw that birds were real living creatures, having real experiences just like me. I wanted to try to save their experiences and simultaneously remind myself of how important it was to be alive.”

This feeling of empathy between birds and herself—fellow creatures exploring the world with a joy and curiosity that could so easily be caged—is what inspired Herrera to start making her hyper-realistic sculptures. She creates a base model, then feathers it over with papercraft plumage delicately filamented with scissors.