Hannelie Coetzee (b. 1971) is a Johannesburg-based visual artist. Through her relational visual arts practice, she grows new audiences by regularly working in public spaces.
Hannelie uses industry waste or obsolete archives often with unlikely partnerships to build site-specific artworks where the meaning of the artwork is also carried in the material she uses. Her artworks are sometimes permanent, but often ephemeral.
Research into the material and the context of the site is fundamental to her process. The research phase grants her the opportunity to connect to the purpose of the artwork, to connect to the people who will be with the artworks afterwards.
Hannelie’s more recent work aims to be regenerative, which engages partners and immerses viewers in the experience in order to challenge their perspectives. The work is accompanied by a film of her process to share the learning journey with a wider audience, as opposed to only exhibiting the completed artworks. Hannelie’s transdisciplinary praxis aims to bring together environmental science and society to encourage empathy for and engagement with nature.
She received a BTech degree in social documentary photography from the Vaal University for Technology in 1994, followed by an Advanced Diploma in Fine Arts at the University of the Witwatersrand (Wits). She worked as a photo essayist for two decades, documenting stories of change for corporate sustainability reports. She studied Social Entrepreneurship at the Gordon Institute for Business Science (GIBS), on a Rand Merchant Bank Grant in 2013. She subsequently incorporated an eco-cultural approach to more relational arts interventions. She was invited, as an artist, to do a transdisciplinary Master of Science Degree (MSc) in Global Environmental Change (GEC) in eco-cultural environmental sustainability at the Wits Animal, Plants and Environmental Science School. She is currently completing her MSc eco-art thesis on using science as a medium that connect people.