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Haidee Nel

Bitter - Sweet

February 7th - March 22nd 2020

Introducing Haidee Nel’s fascinating ‘Bitter-Sweet’-collection

South-African artist amazes her public with unique sculptures

Haidee Nel may not currently be a sounding name in Belgium, but we have no doubt that this will be the case after March 2020. This South African artist lives and works in Swellendam, Western Cape. 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 play their own role. They take you by the hand through their world and unknowingly connect you with the child in each of us.


“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 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.


Something mysterious and magical always happens when someone puts on a mask. It is as if you drop your naturally built up shield and you start to feel safer. I always depict my sculptures with eyes closed because this also represents a certain mask. The child can sleep but the eyes of the mask are open and the sculpture sees the world through the eyes of the mask. - Haidee Nel


“Bitter-Sweet”: an exhibition that tastes like more.

The Uitstalling is proud to present this South African artist and to introduce her to the European art-loving public. Starting from Friday February 7th the impressive exhibition and its installations can be viewed at fixed times: Wednesday, Saturday and Sunday from 2 pm. - 5 pm. or by appointment Groups will be guided by an experienced host.


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