Haidee Nel

Haidee Nel was born in Tshwane the capital of South Africa.

This Artist is a dedicated contemporary African sculptor, installation artist as well as performance artist and fashion enthusiast, who currently lives and works in the small town Swellendam, Western Cape, South Africa.

Being a mother of two young girls she decided to raise her children as close to nature as possible where it was still possible for the children to go to school barefoot. She states that her children and nature are her muses in her artistic work. The closed eyed and barefoot child is currently one of Nel’s signature traits.

She sees herself as a warrior of life honoring the inner child, innocence, love and nature. Through her creative work she becomes a voice to the silenced. The story she is telling is that of her own experiences of growing, failing, healing, seeing and learning, seeking questions and answers to conscious awareness and the essence of the true self and the relationship with the inner child.



Her sculptures are mostly in wood, cement, fabric and resin and she enjoys playing with color and texture, to create figurative doll like sculptures. It results in an assemblage of curious figures that narrates theories of Human condition. Nel’s work is monumental to the child self.

She received a BFA Honours Degree from the University of Cape Town, Michealis School of Fine Art with the ‘Dean’s Merit List Award’ for academic performance Her Master’s degree is currently pending. She has participated in over 80 group shows and 3 major solo exhibitions, mainly in Cape Town and Johannesburg, South Africa. In the past 5 years she participated a major art fairs such as Cape Town Art Fair, Joburg Art Fair, AKAA Art Fair Paris, Turbine Art Fair, That Art Fair (African Art Fair Cape Town) as well as being selected as participating artist at KKNK Arts Festival, Aardklop Art Festival, Woordfees Art Festival Stellenbosch South Africa.

Nel has also worked closely with various charities; this is where her work extends real change in the monetary world. The charity auctions has also allowed her work to be found in important private collections and the increase of the value of her work. Charities organizations such as, Orange Babies (Netherlands), Art Angels (Cape Town), MAD foundation (Cape Town, London), Les Couleurs (New York, Tahiti).

Nel s art work can be found in important Private and Corporate Collections, some of which is Sasol collection, Spier Collection.

Currently Nel is participating in a yearlong group public sculpture installation, Fyn Arts Hermanus, South Africa.
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My true interest has always been identity, the self, and the inner child. Along this journey of exploration towards finding the true self and the relationship with the child self, it became apparent that we are made up of a myriad of visible and invisible layers of masking. I have used the mask and specific clothing styles to visually communicate that which cover or express our identity, knowingly or unknowingly, in order to perform in this Masquerade called life. “But if we become entangled in the masks that we wear, and the mask becomes our reality, the child falls asleep. The performance act becomes reality, and reality becomes the illusive - dream, unconsciousness.”
I experiment with many different materials, techniques (modeling, carving, constructing) and color combinations. The result is a tactile assemblage. I tried to communicate these many layers of masking by combining various tactile materials: hard and soft, smooth and rough, natural and synthetic. Furthermore, I combine more traditional materials and methods such as wood and wood carving with more modern and unconventional materials and techniques such as plastic resulting in a fusing of the old and the new worlds. The use of specific animal masks is to represent a certain character trait. Over the centuries, animals have become the archetypes to describe and understand our character selves.
2019 Meerlig - Public Sculpture. Fyn Arts Festival Hermanus South Africa
2019 Infantry Series - Mad Art Auction London
2019 Growing Pains/ Groeipyne – KKNK Oudshoorn Arts Festival (Group exhibition)

2018 Shimmer & Shrine Series - AKAA Contemporary African Art Fair, Paris
2018 Onmisbaar / Indispensable Series - Turbine Art Fair with Lizamore & Associates Gallery, Johannesburg
2018 Masquerade Series - Knysna Fine Art Gallery, Knysna, Western Cape (Group Exhibition)
2018 Groeipyne Series - Absolut Art Gallery, Stellenbosch, Cape Town - Woordfees Art Festival (Group Exhibition)

2017 Groeipyne Series - Worldart Gallery, Cape Town (Solo Exhibition)
2017 Infantry I & II Series - Boyoyoboy Gallery, Chicago, USA
2017 Sculpted Flower Dress / Performance Piece - Art Auction for Swellendam Hospital
2017 Liefie Group Exhibition, Buzz-TED (Bee Awareness) - Art@Almenkerk, Elgin, Cape Town
2017 Groeipyne Series, Solo Exhibition - Woordfees, Stellenbosch, Cape Town

2016 Infantry Series I & II, Johannesburg Art Fair in collaboration with Orange Babies
2016 At the end of the Rainbow, Sculpted Dress - Show Stopper - Fashion Show, Swellendam
2016 Veterans - THAT ART FAIR with Ebony Gallery, Cape Town
2016 Urban Masquerade Series - Cape Town Art fair with Worldart Gallery, Cape Town

2015 At the End of the Rainbow & Trojan Horse – Equus Gallery, Cavalli Estate, Somerset West, Cape Town
Current Pending Masters in Fine Art, UCT, Cape Town
2018-19 FynArts Public Sculpture Hermanus South Africa
2015-19 Cape Town Art Fair, Joburg Art Fairs, AKAA Art fair Paris, Turbine Art Fair , Woordfees
Stellenbosch, KKNK Arts Festival Oudshoorn., That Art Fair (African Art Fair Cape Town)
2016 1st Prize for Sculpted Dress ‘At the End of the Rainbow - Show Stopper - Fashion Show, Swellendam
2014 Finalist Best Retail Design - Spectrum Retail Design and Development Awards
2012 Design Indaba Fair - Hartedief Art Object, one of best designs at the Design Indaba Fair
2011 Regional Finalist, Absa le Atelier Art Awards, Cape Town
2010 Overall Winner, Vuleka Art Awards, Cape Town
2002 Merit Award, Sasol New Signatures Competition, Pretoria Art Museum, Pretoria.
2000 Diploma in Advanced Black and White Photography, Micheal Hetem School of Photography, Johannesburg.
2000 Dean’s Merit List, Award for Academic Performance. University Of Cape Town
1996- 2000 Bachelor of Fine Art Degree (Hons), Major in Sculpture, University of Cape Town, Michealis School of Fine Art.
Haidee Nel is a dedicated South African artist on Afikaris