Nel's current exhibition, Mandisa by Turiya Magadlela, feature's the strong political texture of the artist's work. Magadlela's work anthems themes of colour and race, the position of women, a refusal to be ignored or stepped upon. Her work is highly aesthetic, it celebrates and exalts. She insists that her work is never intended as political statement but always stems from her life, from the personal. Should the works have wider resonance then all the better. Her personal narrative and the wider social realities are intertwined and connected. In Turiya Magadlela’s case the personal most often also happens to be political. Her use of colour, light and material (panty hose and other kinds of fabric (like prison uniforms) all refer to her own life but references a wider narrative simultaneously. Her work celebrates life and shows a spirit than refuses to be a victim.
For this exhibition titled Mandisa Turiya Magadlela wrote to Nel:
I have made these sweet neon pink works for you as well as a neon pink tapestry because life is such a mess for all of us and I want to make it nice, to make things nice in Xhosa it is to Mandisa but nobody uses that word anymore. It’s also my cousin’s first name, who is basically my role model. Mandisa my cousin was born after my grandfather died. And was called that to make the household happy after the hero (father) died. All my life I looked up to her because as a little girl she seemed more protected than me. But it is a paradox of hiding behind the bad for the good.