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Arts in Milwaukee

A Public Service Of Milwaukee Artist Resource Network

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  • “Gallery Night Exhibition 1”Gallery Night Exhibition 1

    The Sun. Four Hearts. Moon Tree. Ivory on Black Limited Edition Canvas Prints mounted to 1/4 inch gator board. The Sun is 4ft x 4ft. Each heart is 11/2ft x 11/2ft. The MppnTree is 2ft x 4ft(h).

Bela Roongta

  • Art
  • Design
  • Literature
I am an Art Professional I am a Design Professional I am a Literary Professional

artist bio

I am a self-taught artist, storyteller, and business owner. In 2016, I was awarded the Governor’s Special Recognition Trailblazer award for Women in Business for my innovation and success in sharing my experiences as an immigrant woman through my art. Born in Dar es Salaam, Tanzania to parents of east-indian descent, I spent my first 6 months in Dar es Salaam, the next 10 years in London and the rest of my life here in the United States.  We moved quite a bit with no real connection to my east-indian roots. I assimilated, eventually graduating with a Juris Doctorate.  I practiced law, began a family, and advocated on behalf of domestic violence victims until something deep inside demanded that I explore where I come from and who I am. That search led to my first illustration and story drawn, written and inspired by what is now the lens through which I see the world— my love for the east-indian art of henna. Just as the hands and feet provide a living canvas for the art of henna, my art lives through the clothes we wear, the books we read, the blank pages on which we write and draw, and the homes we live in.

artist statement

The art of henna, the ancient east-indian practice of adorning the hands and feet with a paste made from the finely ground leaves of the henna plant, captivated me as a young girl. Taking pen to paper, I draw in the tradition of this ancient art form borrowing it’s intricate floral and geometric patterns to create original designs that tell a story. My art is a visual and written journal of my life experiences as an immigrant, woman, mother, friend, advocate and artist.

I draw each design free-hand pen on paper. I do not use stencils or any other drawing tools but instead rely on the beauty and simplicity of line to bring my drawings to life. I then play with words until they fall into place capturing universal moments of hope, love, and disappointment. I write for those, who like me, are seeking a deeper connection to the earth, their own history, themselves, and their community. I speak my truth in the hopes that it will encourage, inspire, and support others to speak their truth.

This is my East meets West.