The self-taught painter Ivane (Vano) Meliashvili, hailing from Tianeti, Georgia, possessed a profound understanding of Georgian mosaic and its intricate techniques. This discernible influence is palpable in his notable works, such as The Portrait of King Tamar and Vazha-Pshavela and His Family. Meliashvili’s mastery extended to Georgian miniature art, eloquently portrayed in canvases depicting scenes from Zakaria Paliashvili’s opera.
In the last 25 years of his life, Vano Meliashvili worked as a watchman at a kindergarten. Notwithstanding his unconventional career path, the artist’s talents garnered acclaim when the first exhibition featuring 87 of his works took place in the Elene Akhveldiani Children’s Art Gallery. This exhibition was well received by critics and led to a subsequent exhibition in Vienna, Austria, organized by Tengiz Mirzashvili, Zurab Nizharadze, and Edmond Kalandadze. This resulted in the sale of several paintings.
In 2000, the Centre for Protection and Revival of Folk Art organised an exhibition of Vano Meliashvili’s oeuvre in the National Library of Georgia. A documentary delving into the life and artistry of Vano Meliashvili was produced by the film company Shvidkatsa and directed by Davit Janelidze at the same time. In 2015, a group exhibition titled Faces featured Meliashvili’s artworks, composed of diverse Georgian Folk Art Museum collection materials, further solidifying his enduring legacy.