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by Lawrence Scott Sheets

Natali de Pita was born in 1971 in Tbilisi (Tiflis), the capital of what was then the Soviet republic of Georgia. Natali gravitated towards painting at a very early age. (“The only other thing I ever dreamed of becoming was a confectionary clerk”) By the time she was 12, her works had already been featured at exhibitions in Georgia, Latvia, and Bulgaria.By the time Natali received her Master degree from the Tbilisi State Academy of Fine Arts, her works had already been exhibited in Mexico, France, Italy, Spain, the United States,and Russia. Natali, who has published her own poetry in the Russian language, always sought inspiration for her work through literature.The Russian writer Mikhail Bulgakov’s classic Master and Margarita was an early, profound influence on Natali.At the age of 12, she produced more than 100 drawings and paintings based on scenes from Master and Margarita. Some of these works were included in her early international exhibits. The late 1980s and early 1990s were a time in great upheaval. Georgia gained its independence as the Soviet Union disintegrated; but the country was ripped apart by civil wars,secessionist conflicts, and economic chaos. Almost everyone in Georgia knew someone close who had been killed, injured or made homeless, including Natali, who lost several friends in the mayhem. “You don’t live through those kinds of upheavals without them leaving a deep imprint on your psyche,” she says. The upheavals manifested themselves in Natali’s paintings and graphics of the time, which often exuded a sense of dislocation.The violent disorder also prompted Natali, like many in her native land, to seek opportunities elsewhere.In 1995, with the country still in a chaotic state, the artist was invited to residence at the Cité Internationale des Arts in Paris. “Paris was like a blood transfusion for me,” Natali says. “It was, first of all, a chance to free myself of the situation at home,” she says. “But it also provided a complete sensory makeover in every way.” Natali shuttled between Paris, Georgia, and St. Petersburg,Russia in the mid-1990s.She had entered a design school Creapole, where she studied at the interior design faculty for a year and finally she enrolled at the Sorbonne; she was awarded a License en Arts Contemporains et Sciences from Paris I-Sorbonne. Natali’s favorite author is the Argentinean-born Jorge Luis Borges, whose own early-life multilingual, multicultural upbringing shaped his often dreamworld-like writings. Natali shares Borges’sense of fantasy and perspective “the artist, an author as well as a participant, a relationship to the world as one relates to the scenes in a book, as a book is never truly finished,” she says.Natali was again an Artist in Residence at Cité Internationale des Arts in Paris during 1998-1999. During this period, she collaborated closely with the renowned Russian émigré painter Sergei Chepik, best known for his works at London’s St. Paul’s Cathedral. In 2001, Natali moved to Switzerland.She has owned her own art gallery, Lepic, in Lausanne, where she has been exhibiting her own artwork as well as the other European artists previously unknown to the Swiss public. In 2007, Natali de Pita was invited to be a part of a big construction project: the new Presidential Palace in Georgia. For the next two years she was concentrating on the most involved project of her professional life thus far: a sweeping mosaic encapsulating the entirety of Georgia’s complicated and colorful history.Called “A Walk through History”, the mosaics were created for the palace’s façade and its courtyard decoration. Natali personally conceptualized the whole thematic idea and designed the mosaics. The artist is producing a series of oil-on-canvas works which will later, in cooperation with Travisanutto Mosaici of Venice, be adapted to three large mosaic panels on the grounds of the complex, widely referred to as Georgia’s new “Presidential Palace”.During this project Natali keeps on shuttling between Georgia and Switzerland, and by the time she gets her next big project she practically relocates to Georgia. In 2010, Piazza mosaics floor with a total of 106 sq. m. in a form of a medallion have been created for one of the central squares in Batumi city. The mosaics depicting figurative motives in the middle surrounded with decorative ornamental motives. This particular work is the biggest figurative marble mosaics in Europe. At the same time Natalie pursues interior design and decoration industry. In collaboration with an architect she completed several private residences projects in Georgia.Furthermore, Natali carried out another monumental project on the main square of Batumi in 2012. In close collaboration with Travisanutto Mosaici she creates two mosaic façade panels. Starting from this moment Natalie finds deeper interest in philosophical and esoteric literature, such as work of Gurdjhiev, K-G.Jung and Blavatsky in particular. Such interest led to the creation of several projects, one of the projects was created by her with Georgian artists: Oleg Timchenko and Gia Bughadze. It was introduced by GeoAir at Venice Biennale pavilion in Palazzo Zenobio exhibition space as an out-of- competition participant. To this day Natali de Pita lives and creates in Tbilisi,Georgia. She takes interest in other affairs such as: oil painting, graphics, interior and custom-made designs. In 2019 Natali, together with two like-minded women, Lusine Bardon and Irina Koçak, established the Ribirabo Foundation, whose task is to preserve and restore existing mosaics, as well as to develop mosaic art in Georgia.