Big Medium Names 2024 Winner of $15,000 Tito’s Prize

by Jessica Fuentes May 31, 2024

Big Medium, a nonprofit arts organization in Austin, has named Bella Varela as the 2024 Tito’s Prize awardee. Ms. Varela will receive $15,000 of unrestricted funds and will have a solo show at Big Medium in 2025.

A headshot of artist Bella Maria Varela.

Bella Maria Varela

Ms. Varela holds an MFA in Photography from the University of Arizona and a BA in Mass Communications with a minor in 2D Media Studies from Miami University in Oxford, Ohio. She is currently an Instructor of Record at the School of Art and Art History at the University of Texas at Austin. 

Ms. Varela draws on the rich history of rasquache in both her found object and textile installations and video works. Her pieces are often playful while maintaining a serious critical lens, and explore themes of immigration, family, gender identity, and sexuality. 

An installation image of a work of art by Bella Maria Varela.

Bella Maria Varela, “Purple Unicorn,” 2021, steel rods, dye-sublimation fleece print, fleece blanket, cinder blocks, cowboy boots, steel rods, 60 x 80 inches.

In a press release, Ms. Varela stated, “Through my multimedia practice I have developed my own hybrid language to visualize my family’s migration from Guatemala through the U.S.-Mexico border to Washington DC and the shores of New England.”

This year the Tito’s Prize winner was selected by a curatorial panel that included Dr. Anita Bateman, Associate Curator in the Department of Modern and Contemporary Art at the Museum of Fine Arts, Houston, Dr. Leigh A. Arnold, Curator at the Nasher Sculpture Center, and Coka Treviño, Curator and Artistic Director at Big Medium.

Learn more about the 2024 Tito’s Prize Winner via Big Medium’s website

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