Bela is a renowned West Australian ceramic artist who specialises in producing large scale sculptural works using the potter’s wheel.
Of Hungarian descent he was born in Germany in 1947 and arrived in Western Australia with his parents and siblings in 1950. He trained in ceramics with his father Francis Kotai and later graduated from Curtin University with a degree in Design in 1978.
Throughout his career he has worked as a professional potter, artist in clay, teacher and an academic administrator. Since 1970 he has pursued his artistic practice and gained Master Craftsman accreditation from the Crafts Council of WA in 1977.
His work is exhibited nationally and internationally and is represented in the Art Gallery Of Western Australia and in many corporate and private collections. For over thirty years he has lectured in art and design and has been a strong influence in the development of the ceramic art form at both local and national levels. Bela has held senior academic management positions as Head of the Art Department at Kalgoorlie College (1983-88) and the Head of Claremont School of Arts (1992-2000). He was founding director of the Western Australian School of Art, Design and Media (1994-2000).
As an active advocate for the arts Bela has served on numerous public arts committees including the board of the Festival of Perth and has chaired the Ministerial Arts Advisory Board. He was recently awarded a Creative Development Fellowship from the WA Department of Culture and the Arts and in 2011 was the international resident at the Anderson Ranch in Colorado USA.
Bela is dedicated to spreading awareness that clay is one of the prime mediums of visual expression. It is a central principle of his teaching and his artistic endeavor.