In 1964-1970, he studied at the Faculty of Sculpture at the Tbilisi Academy of Arts. His graduate work—a 3m high figurative composition of Pirosmani—was highly appreciated by the sculptor Mikhail Anikushin, who was then the secretary of the board of the Artist’s Union. This led the young sculptor to continue his post-graduate studies at the Soviet Union Academy of Arts, where he spent four years and sculpted a portrait of Dostoevsky. After returning to Georgia, aiming to receive state commissions for monumental forms, he created three sculptures on Soviet themes: a 4-meter figure of Dzerzhinsky for the collective farm named after him in Lagodekhi, a concrete monument of Lenin in Khobi, and a composition on the theme of the Second World War called “Daryal’s Guards.”
During Gamsakhurdia’s rule, together with Karlo Grigolia, Simon Girkelidze, and Otar Chkhartishvili, he formed the association “Avantguard.” The artists developed a manifesto and, with the support of Merab Berdzenishvili, organized an exhibition at the National Gallery, which took place in Tbilisi before the war.
At the invitation of Berdzenishvili, art creators, and artists from Europe came to the exhibition. Contacts were made, after which Neveli Jikia was invited to work in the German city of Nettetal. The sculptor carried out several monumental projects there: “Clock” (stone) that stands on the territory of the nursing home, “Abstract composition” near the main church (marble and iron construction), and “Composition” for the architect Epinhouse.
Neveli Jikia taught at the Faculty of Sculpture at the Art Academy for two years.