As a filmmaker and artist my work is shaped by the influences and awareness of growing up on the U.S./Mexico border. My work crosses cultural, linguistic and physical borders through the use of documentary film and contemporary art installations; challenging iconography and discourse of popular culture. I identify as a Xicana filmmaker whose work is in service to her community, striving for a deeper understanding of her history and culture.
My goal with everything I create is to connect it to a larger movement for social change and liberation within Xicana and indigenous communities. Through subject matter and my insider lens I feel that my work subverts the mainstream narrative. My projects provide a glimpse of those whose roots have been part of the Americas for hundreds if not thousands of years; nevertheless, our stories have been omitted from mainstream literature, films, and television. It is a digital resistance, of sorts, where I get to re-write our histories back into the “books” and psyche of those willing to bear witness. It allows us to heal, recover, and remember.
Chicano/Indigenous Film, Art & Politics, Civil Rights Movement, Texas Borderlands, Digital Strategies, Art Installations for Social Change, Day of the Dead, Immigration Crisis, Film and Digital Technologies for Frontline Communities, Funding Strategies, Career Strategies in Media, Self Branding for Artists, Xicanx Art and Politics.
Varela has been a guest of San Antonio College, Northwest Vista College, Palo Alto College, South Texas College, UT San Antonio, Trinity University, Swarthmore College, University of North Texas, Ut Arlington, Hoschule Neidderein, Bielefeld University, Leipzig Unversity, University of Augsberg.