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NATALIA MELA-CONSTANTINIDI / dit: NATALIA MELA (Greece, Athens b. 1923 / act: Athens)

Natalia Mela Natalia Mela-Constantinidi was born in 1923 in Athens. She studied sculpture at the Athens School of Fine Arts. In 1946 Mela received the first prize for nude sculpture. Mela has held six monographic exhibitions and has participated in another sic group exhibitions in Europe and the US. During her career she received commissions to make memorial portraits of Greek personalities such as Stephanos Dragoumis at Zappeion, George Pesmazoglou at the National Bank, and Pavlos Melas at Kefalari Square.

Upon being asked about the themes in her work, Mela said "my themes are all the things I love in life". She went on to explain that her themes usually stem from Greek mythology and religion. She is also concerned that her sculpture evokes values that she feels are connected to Greek culture, such as 'heroismos' (heroism),'sthenmos' (strength), 'leventia' (courage), and 'romiosyni' (Greekness). Mela has a talent in combining two seemingly contradictory trends; abstraction with figuration. Upon being asked about her choice of materials, Mela said "From the clarity of marble to the potential of paper, once I set my creations on fire... it is like a happening". Mela went on to explain that - having worked with every material - metal appeals to her best, perhaps as a means to express every one of the values she mentioned. In his speech on Mela's exhibition at Kolonaki Sqaure in 2002, Professor Agelos Delivorrias, Director of the Benaki Museum, said "Mela's work is a poetic expression of materials".

One may say that Mela has the gift to create feelings. Her work gives the impression that she moves from modern ideas to traditional ones with fluidity in an invisible way. The forms, colours, and materials of her work come together to become one, emitting a feeling of balance and harmony.

[Megakles Rogakos 12/2004]

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