top of page

Haidee Nel

Haidee Nel

Haidee Nel (1977) is a contemporary South African artist – sculptor, installation artist, and performance artist, living and working in the picturesque town of Swellendam, Western Cape, South Africa.

Her artworks consist of a mix of wood, cement, and fabric that she often processes with resin. Because of her fascination for color and texture, she creates images that swallow you up in an unprecedented story.

Her images initially resemble puppets, but soon you will realize that the figures all play their own role. They take you by the hand through their world and unknowingly connect you with the child in each of us.

Haidee Nel's Art Exhibition

Her exhibition “Bitter-Sweet” starts philosophical: “What does it mean to be a human being?” It’s an exploration of someone’s identity and the accompanying aspects. What is the real story behind a person and what masks does a person wear to cover up their true nature? There are multiple layers that you have to study again and again to get to the essence. What is an illusion and what is reality? Which masks hide “being a child”? Together with the innocent-looking traditional costume that also manifests itself here as an identity layer, the collection becomes a masquerade in which clean appearance and reality merge seamlessly into an intriguing spectacle. Sometimes bitter and just as often sweet.

When shaping the sculptures Haidee Nel was inspired by her own children. She likes to use the symbolism of “being a child” throughout her works because this applies to every one of us. Whether it is hiding, sleeping, fear, joy, or play, it will never outgrow a person's life. In order of the multicultural aspect, she combines this with a variety of compelling masks. It is universal, evolving, and always associated with societies as they are at that moment. Many of the deeper intentions of masks, however, have been forgotten, but these traditions can still be used as an inspiration.