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BELA SURESH ROONGTA
Var West Gallery is pleased to announce 366, a solo exhibition featuring Milwaukee based artist Bela Suresh Roongta.
Bela Suresh Roongta is a Milwaukee-based artist, writer, and storyteller. Born in Dar es Salaam, Tanzania, Bela became a United States citizen more than 20 years after immigrating with her family, graduated with her Juris Doctor degree from the University of Iowa College of Law, and practiced law for 10 years before becoming an artist. Bela’s art is guided by her immigrant experience and work as a lawyer and domestic violence advocate. As a lawyer, it was her job to listen, capture, and give voice to her client’s, often intimate, stories. Listening to and capturing these stories left her in awe of the human experience and our capacity to endure. It is this insight, understanding and sensitivity that Bela brings to her art practice. She makes art, writes stories and curates experiences that explore identity, dance with memories and tradition, captures the complexity and beauty of the human spirit and tells of the times we live in. As a recipient of the Governor’s Special Recognition Trailblazer Award for Women in Business and the Pfister Hotel’s most recent Writer-in-Residence, Bela has been recognized for innovation and success in business, art and storytelling. She has shown work in galleries and exhibitions throughout North America and Canada and is a published author, featured poet, community activist and owner of a boutique studio featuring her original hand drawn art.
"On January 1, 2020, I drew my 1st circle. On December 31, 2020, I drew my 366th. What began as a 30 day creative making marathon became a year long daily practice of drawing, writing, and creating. There were only three rules— to draw or write every day, to start with the same sized circle and drawing paper, and to never throw one away. Using a cup that is too big for my hand to hold, I traced the circle on either white or black 9 x 12 drawing paper. Then with either graphite, ink, collage or text I made my first mark. I borrowed from the intricate floral and geometric shapes of my East Indian ancestors to create small, intimate drawings. I cut and pasted. I scribbled over and layered under. I imagined and reimagined. I started over. I never threw one away." .