Bela Suresh Roongta is a Milwaukee-based visual artist, writer and storyteller. Born in Dar es Salaam, Tanzania to East Indian parents, Bela became an American citizen more than 20 years after immigrating with her family, first to the United Kingdom and then to the United States. Although disconnected from her roots as a young girl she carried with her a deep and visceral connection to the ancient East Indian art of her ancestors, mehndi— more commonly known as henna. It is this love, that inspires her art practice now. After six years of practicing law and directing a legal advocacy clinic for domestic violence and sexual assault victims, Bela went in search of her roots, becoming a visual and written artist. She has shown in solo & group exhibitions, been featured as a writer & speaker and recognized for innovation and success in art and storytelling.

Committed to the rituals of drawing, journaling and traveling, Bela makes art, writes stories and curates experiences that explore identity & place, dance with memory and tradition and tell of the times we live in. Her art and storytelling honors those who came before us, our shared experiences and our differences. Bela believes strongly in the power of human connection and is guided by her conviction that it is only in each others’ stories that we find the beauty of the human spirit. It is through her art, advocacy and storytelling that Bela seeks to make the world more beautiful.