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 unknow- ingly connect you with the child in each of us.
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 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 everyone of us. Whether it is hiding, sleeping, fear, joy or play, it will never outgrown a persons life. In order of the multicultural aspect she combines this with a variety of compelling masks. It is universal, evolving and always asso- ciated 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.
2019 Bitter-Sweet, Uitstalling Art Gallery, Belgium
2018 Urban Masquerade Series, Knysna Fine Art Gallery, Knysna, Western Cape
2018 Groeipyne Series, Absolut Art, Stellenbosch, Western Cape
2018 Liefie Series, God Save the Queen, Absolut Art, Stellenbosch, Western Cape
2018 Camouflage Series, Boschendal Wine Estate , The Boutique Gallery, Franschhoek, Western Cape
2017 Infantry I Series (Girl), Click Foundation – Art Angels, Ellerman House, Cape Town
2017 Liefie Series, Black Orchid - Elm Auction, Stephen Welz & Co, Cape Town
2017 Liefie Series – Vienna Design Week, Vienna
2017 Groeipyne – Worldart, Cape Town
2017 Groeipyne - Woordfees, Stellenbosch (near Cape Town)
2016 Infantry Series (Boy) – Lizamore & Associates, Johannesburg
2016 Liefie Series – Turbine Art Fair with Lizamore & Associates, Johannesburg
2016 Urban Masquerade - Cape Town Art fair with Worldart, Cape Town
2015 At the End of the Rainbow & Trojan Horse – Equus Gallery, Cavalli Estate (near Cape Town)
2015 Infantry I Series (Girl) – Joburg Art Fair with Orange Babies - South Africa
2014 Urban Masquerade Series - Cape Town Art Fair with Erdmann Contemporary
2013 Design Indaba group exhibition titled ‘The Travel Suitcase’, Cape Town
2011 Infecting the City – group exhibition with Erdmann Contemporary, Cape Town
2010 Matters Conceptual: Seeing – group exhibition with Erdmann Contemporary, Cape Town