Solo Exhibitions

2024 Karel Nel: Close and Far, WAM, University of the Witwatersrand, Johannesburg (June - August 2024)
2015 Observe, Art First, London
2013 Silent Thresholds, Art First, London
2011 There But Not There: The Significance of Absence, Art First, London
2008 The Brilliance of Darkness, Art First, London
2007 Lost light: fugitive images from deep space, Standard Bank Gallery, Johannesburg


In the Presence of Leaves, Art First, London


Leslie Sacks Fine Art, Brentwood, Los Angeles


Status of Dust, Art First, London


Status of Dust, Art First, New York


Volcanic Texts, Art First, London


Solo Journeys, Standard Back Gallery, Johannesburg


Images of Paradise and Death, Leslie Sacks Fine Art, Los Angeles


View on the Inner House, Art First, London


Isles and the Inner House, Leslie Sacks Fine Art, Brentwood, Los Angeles


Inner Province, Art First, London


Recent Work, Standard Bank Gallery, Johannesburg


Quite Lives, Gertrude Posel Gallery, University of Witwatersrand


Recent Drawings and Guest Artist, Johannesburg Art Gallery


Drawings, Olivetti Gallery, Johannesburg

Selected Group Exhibitions

2024 Art First London, Celebrating 30 Years!
2016 South Africa: Art of a Nation, The British Museum
2014 Exact Imagination: 300 years of botanically inspired art in South Africa curated by Cyril Coetzee, at The Standard Bank Gallery, Johannesburg
  African Cosmos/Stellar Arts at the Los Angeles County Museum of Art (originated by the National Museum of African Art, Smithsonian Institute, Washington DC)
2012 The African Cosmos, National Museum of African Art, Smithsonian Institution, Washington DC
2009 Penelope and the Cosmos, Karel Nel and Willem Boshoff, CIRCA, Johannesburg
  ZOOM – Looking Back/Looking Forward, Art First, London
2008 Angaza Afrika, African Art Now, October Gallery, London
  Dialogue, Art First, London
2004 Ten Years of Democracy, South Africa National Gallery, Cape Town


Place, Galerie Asbaek, Copenhagen and Kastrupgardsamlingen, Kastrup, Denmark, Touring to Pretoria Art Museum and Oliwenhuis Art Museum, Bloemfontein, South Africa


Art First at 10, Art First, London


The Shachat Art Collection, SASOL Art Museum, Stellenbosch, South Africa


Claiming Art/Reclaiming Space: Post Apartheid Art from South Africa, Smithsonian, Washington DC

Emergence, Standard Bank National Festival of the Arts,, Grahamtown and touring exhibition


Divided City Installation, In Nearer than Bronze Exhibition, Sandton Civic Gallery, Johannesburg, South Africa


Art '97, The London Contemporary Art Fair with Art First


Art '96, The London Contemporary Art Fair with Art First

Three Years On, Art First, London

'Insights', Wright Gallery, New York

'Vita Art Today', Johannesburg Art Gallery


Terminos Installation, Johannesburg Art Gallery for the Johannesburg Biennale

Common and Uncommon Ground, South African Art to Atlanta, City Gallery East, Atlanta, Georgia, USA

'Art '95', The London Contemporary Art Fair with Art First


'Art '94', The London Contemporary Art Fair with Art First

'Artists Under the Southern Cross', Stedelijk Museum, Amsterdam

Giholte-Baard-Breda Fonden, Copenhagen, with Doris Bloom and Marlene Dumas


Resident Artist, Standard Bank National Festival of the Arts, Grahamstown

'Art '93', The London Contemporary Art Fair, Islington

'Affinities', Contemporary South African Art, Venice Biennale (and Rome)


Institute of Contemporary Art, Johannesburg

'Art Meets Science', Grahamstown Festival of the Arts


University Art Museum, University of California, Berkeley

Three South African Artists: A Contemplative View, Midlands Contemporary Art, Birmingham


Cape Town Triennial

Fort Worth Ryder Gallery, University of California (prizewinner)


'Vita Art Now', Johannesburg Art Gallery

National Drawing Competition Exhibition, Standard Bank National Festival of the Arts, Grahamstown

Valparaiso Biennale, Chile

Tapestries , Linda Goodman Gallery, and tour to South Africa National Gallery


'Selections From a Century', Johannesburg Art Gallery


'Tributaries A View of Contemporary South African Art , BMW Exhibition, touring Germany and Europe

Cape Town Triennial

Paperworks Group Show (prizewinner


Tatham Gallery, Pietermaritzburg Association of Arts, Natal


Cape Town Triennial (Gold Medallist)


Durban Arts '80

'Young Artists', Olivetti Gallery

'Sculpture '80', University of Pretoria


University of Witwatersrand



Reflective Field – Standard Bank commission for Water: The [Delicate] Thread Of Life

2004 Design: Oval Nguni Wool Carpet – South Africa House, London
  Design: Book cover for Gordimer, N. (ed).Telling Tales, Bloomsbury Publishing: Great Britain
2002 Field of Value, Nedbank headquarters, Sandton
1999 Place of Nurture – ABSA Bank, Johannesburg
1997 Signs of Fire – B/M/D Headquarters, Cape Town
1996 The Way of Stone – Reunion, Indian Ocean
1995 Four Core Tapestries – Gencor, Johannesburg
1992 Three Lithographs – Grahamstown Festival of the Arts: Art/Science exhibition
1988 Geological Stratigraphy – mixed media mural, Anglo Vaal, Main Street Headquarters, Johannesburg
Parallel Worlds – Tapestry woven by Marguerite Stephens for new hospital complex, Springs, Gauteng
1986 Intact – print edition for Brenthurst Press/Johannesburg Art Gallery
1984 Trance Atlantic – mural panel, Anglo American Headquarters, 44 main Street, Johannesburg
Inner Dance – Sandt Du Plessis Theatre, Bloemfontein


2005 South African Museums Publication Design Award: Phillip Tobias poster/invitation: At My Wits End
2004 Appointed project artist: COSMOS Project, New York (ongoing)
2003 Gammel Dok Copenhagen artists residency


Residency, Louisiana Museum, Copenhagen


The Old Mutual Vita Award: Overall Winner

The Simpson Fellowship, University of California, Berkeley


Art Gallery Founders Prize of the University of California, Berkley


Fulbright Placement (University of California, Berkley)

University Council Fellowship (University of the Witwatersrand)


The Volkskas Atelier Award (and 1987,1988)


Olivetti Travel Grant


Almaks Prize


Montagu White Travel Grant


Montagu White Bursary

Afrox Prize: Open Category


Afrox Metal Art Sculpture Annual Competition (Student Award)


2012 Consultant: African Cosmos – Stellar Arts, Smithsoniam Museum of African Art, Washington D.C.
  Consultant: WAM! Seeing Stars, opening exhibition, Wits Art Museum, Johannesburg
  Curator: Between rock: grinding stones from southern Africa, Circa, Johannesburg
2011 Co-curator (with Joni Brenner and Gerhard Marx), Design and Installation: Life of Bone: art meets science, Origins Centre, Wits University, Johannesburg
  Consultant: The Art of Daily Life: Portable Objects from Southeast Africa, Cleveland Museum of Art, USA
2010 Consultant: Alan Crump, A fearless Vision, Johannesburg Art Gallery
2009 Curator: Alexis Preller – Africa, the sun and shadows, Standard Bank Gallery
2008 Co-Curator (with Mary-Jane Darroll): Edoardo Villa – Changing Worlds, Nirox Sculpture Park, The Cradle of Humankind
2007 Consultant: Dungamanzi, Stirring waters, curated by Nessa Leibhammer, national touring exhibition
  Curator: Oceanic Values: currencies of the Pacific, Standard Bank Gallery
2006 Consultant: Picasso and Africa, Standard Bank Gallery
2004 Consultant: Democracy X, The Castle, Cape Town
  Curator: Glimpses from the South: traditional Zulu, Tsonga/Shangaan objects, Museum for African Art, New York.
  Consultant: Voice-Overs: Wits Writings exploring African Artworks, Gertrude Posel Gallery, Wits University
2002 Curator: early traditional Zulu, Sotho, Tsonga, Shangaan and Xhosa artifacts, library in South Africa House, London
Consultant: African Currency exhibition in Rotterdam to coincide with the launch of the Euro
Curator: Ashanti weights at the Gold Museum, Cape Town. (exhibition withdrawn)
2001-2 Consultant: selection and presentation of Southern African artworks in the permanent installation of African art at the Metropolitan Museum of Art, Department of the Arts of Africa, Oceania, and the Americas
2001 Consultant and Installation: 15th century Nigerian Sculpture, Meneghelli Foundation at Standard Bank Gallery, Johannesburg
2000 Consultant: Ubuntu, Southern African material, Musee de l’homme, Paris.
1999 Curator: Bridewealth, Currency and Other Assets, Standard Bank Gallery, Johannesburg
1997-8 Co-Curator (with Nessa Leibhammer): Evocations of the Child: Fertility Figures of the Southern African Region, national touring exhibition
Co-ordinator, designer, contributing author: Evocations of the Child: Fertility Figures of the Southern African Region, book published by Human and Rousseau and Johannesburg Art Gallery
1995 Consultant: Isigasa-Zulu Earplugs, exhibition, Standard Bank National Festival of the Arts, Grahamstown
Curator: Johannes Segogela – Guest Artist, Standard Bank National Festival of the Arts, Grahamstown
1994 Curator: African Architectural Elements and Traditional Furniture, Gertrude Posel Gallery, University of the Witwatersrand
1990 Consultant and Installation: Art and Ambiguity: Perspectives on the Brenthurst Collection of Southern African Art, Johannesburg Art Gallery
1989 Consultant: Transformed Fibres, national touring exhibition curated by Nessa Leibhammer
1988 Curator: Cyprian Shilakoe – Guest Artist, Grahamstown Festival of the Arts
1987 Consultant: African Art Alternative Approaches, Museums Conference Exhibition, Tatham Art Gallery, Pietermaritzburg, Natal