A solo exhibition of sculpture at the Worldart gallery (54 Church Street, Cape Town) from 6 – 27 April 2017

Fresh from its run at the SU Woordfees in Stellenbosch, where it premiered last month, the title for this exhibition responds to the theme for that event, which centred on growth. This connected with Nel’s long-term preoccupation with the inner child in the adult psyche, which needs to be confronted from time to time in order for an individual to grow and function normally. Nel was also inspired by her own children, who at different periods in their own development have compelled her to reflect on her childhood and the various identities from that time that continue to shape her adult life. Nel developed her own language; a model of young girl onto which she projects the issues relating to the inner child. The model, which she first dubbed Liefie, has evolved into a stylized sculpture, which she treats like a veritable Barbie doll, dressing it up and altering parts of its body to enact different scenarios. In Groeipyne/Growing Pains she has created five renditions of this girl figure, which manifest as different characters drawn from different aspects of popular culture and children’s stories. Via a red cape she evokes the figure of little Red Riding Hood in the sculpture titled Double by/Dubbeldoor. However, a wolf’s tail protrudes from the cape as do the legs of this animal, cast as Red Riding Hood’s foe. Nel has purposefully fused the two as a way of addressing the blurred boundary between the victim and perpetrator selves that lurk within people. It is the well-known character from the children’s story Alice in Wonderland that is the inspiration behind the sculpture Rabbit hole /Haasgat, though the blue plinth on which it is placed refers to the ‘blue pill’ that is a memorable part of the story in The Matrix film trilogy. In this work she similarly delves into the dark side of childhood, probing the impact and death of a loved one in a young person’s life. It is just such a tragic occurrence that propels a child to experience the titular ‘growing pains’. Familiar phrases and imagery associated with young girls, from a winged costume to a jewelry box ballerina, shapes another three characters titled Row row /Roei roei, Skat/Treasure and Bottervlieg/Butterfly. The basic features of these characters remain the same save for their costumes and accessories. Haidee Nel (b. 1977) is a sculptor and installation and performance artist who lives and works in Swellendam, South Africa. She works mainly with wood, cement, fabric and resin and enjoys playing with colour and texture.

• 2000 University of Cape Town, Michealis School of Fine Art. Honours degree in Fine Art. Dean's merit list award for academic performance.
• 2001 Micheal Hetem School of Photography. Advanced Black and White Photography. COMPETITIONS & AWARDS
• 2011 Absa le Atelier, Regional Finalist, Cape Town
• 2010 Vuleka Award, Winner: Best Overall Artwork
• 2003 Merit Award for the Sasol New Signatures Competition SELECTED EXHIBITIONS AND PROJECTS
• 2017 Groeipyne, Woordfees, Stellenbosch
• 2016 Camouflage, Lizamore & Associates, Johannesburg
• 2016 Urban Masquerade, Cape Town Art fair with Worldart
• 2015 At the End of the Rainbow, Equus Gallery, Cavalli Estate (near Cape Town)
• 2015 Orange Babies South Africa, Joburg Art Fair
• 2014 Cape Town Art Fair with Erdmann Contemporary
• 2013 Design Indaba group exhibition titled ‘The travel suitcase'
• 2011 Infecting the City, Cape Town

For more information contact Charl Bezuidenhout at or on 082 901 5045.

Warren Maroon