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Bella Maria Varela

Bella Maria Varela is a visual artist based in Tucson, Arizona. Bella grew up in inner-city Washington D.C. and is the proud daughter of Guatemalan immigrants. Using video, installation and photography her work explores her personal experience with American history and popular culture to explore the intersection of immigration, family, and gender identity. Her practice is rooted in the resourceful legacy of immigrant hustlers, which has compelled her to not only collect but also corrupt and alter found objects and images to amplify the power dynamics inherent within it. By pulling from her personal archive of video footage, thrifted souvenirs, and San Marcos blankets; she cuts and reconfigures them to create physical gaps where new meanings can be interpreted - creating spaces where hybrid identities exist and thrive. She creates a new iconography that embodies her experience as a first-generation Guatemalan-American woman.

Bella is recent grad from the Photo | Video I Imaging (PVI) Masters program at the University of Arizona School of Art. While at the University of Arizona, she served as Arts Facilitator with the QTPOC (Queer and Trans People of Color) and as a Graduate Teaching Assistant. In 2020, she received 1st place in the 5 Minute Film Festival at the Museum of Contemporary Art (MOCA) Tucson for her work titled, Triathlon. Most recently she was accepted into the Mellon-Fronteridades Graduate Fellowship Program and exhibited her work @border_becky at the University of Arizona Museum of Art.

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