Born in Pretoria, South Africa, she immigrated to New Zealand in 1989 leaving her African heritage behind. Forging a life in the new world she began an exploration of culture and emotion with her art representing the identities of the past and of her new home.
Cornelia completed her Masters of Fine Arts: Painting, at the Elam Art School, University of Auckland in 1995 and has formed a strong presence in the New Zealand art community. Her work has resulted in a succesion of solo and group exhibitions in Auckland, Christchurch and a sprinkling of smaller cities
Her works have been purchased by gallery owners, private collectors and are scattered around the world, from London, Sydney, Ibiza, Auckland and Taiwan to name a few.