Bella Maria Varela

Bella Maria Varela is a second-year graduate student pursuing an MFA at the University of Arizona School of Art. Bella grew up in inner-city Washington D.C with her three sisters (her favorite is the cocker spaniel named Angie), and parents. She attended Miami University in Oxford, Ohio where she majored in Mass Communication and minored in Photography.
Post-graduation Bella returned to Washington D.C and served as an Museum Assistant at the Phillips Collection, Assistant Manager at the Renwick Gallery Store, and as Arts Program Coordinator with All Our Kids DC. Currently, Bella serves as a facilitator with the Common Ground Alliance and QTPOC (Queer and Trans People of Color) with the University of Arizona. Using photography, video, installation work; Bella’s artwork explores her identity as a first-generation Latinx women exploring and reclaiming American landscapes. Her work honors the immigrant hustle and highlights the confusion, pride and resiliency of first-generation Latinx women.

Using photography, video, and installation,​ my work collapses my personal experiences with broader American history into playful moments of chaos. My practice is rooted in the resourceful legacy of immigrant hustlers, which has compelled​ ​me to not only collect but also re-shape and re-use the objects to amplify the power dynamics inherent within it. I create digital spaces for me to unpack layers of objects, photos, and people to unlock them from my memories and dreams. From my perspective as a first-generation Guatemalan-American woman, I reinterpret what it means to take up space in both physical and psychological American landscapes, and repurpose the trauma and humor embedded in found objects.

American GRL
Mixed Media, 4ft X 10ft X .5ft

Tu Hija
Mixed Media, 4ft X 8.5ft X .5ft

Yoga at the Beach
Ink Jet Print

Dalia for Diner
Ink Jet Print

Pensive Puta
Ink Jet Print

Hunt-ting Hoe
Ink Jet Print