Christina Conrad

Christina Conrad has been called New Zealand's greatest living artist. She is certainly its greatest eccentric. An obsessive poet, playwright and "outsider" painter & sculptor, she lived as a recluse for twenty years without electricity or running water, where she "kept her paintings in cupboards instead of food". Her work is disarmingly original and not easily pigeon-holed, nor does the term "outsider" sit easily with her, suggesting as it does someone who is untrained. Conrad's paintings and clay sculptures possess a focus that reflects a rigorous self-training. What one perceives as polish is essentially her obsessive preoccupation with allowing the paint its own life.


Conrad is the author of three books and a play, entitled A Modern Crucifixion. She is listed in the Bloomsbury Book of Women Writers (U.K.) and her poems anthologised in Emu & Kiwi (ed by Barbara Petrie), The Penguin Book of Contemporary New Zealand Verse (ed by Ian Wedde) and The Oxford Book of Modern New Zealand Poetry (ed by Vincent Sullivan). In June, 2000, the University of Auckland Press published a selection of Conrad's poems in Big Smoke, their definitive anthology of New Zealand poetry in the 1960s and 70s. Her work also appears in numerous print journals, little magazines, and newspapers round the world. The poet, Billy Marshall Stoneking, describes the experience of listening to Conrad speaking her poetry as "tribal, unearthing some deep, instinctual understanding that has been buried in the unconscious. She is bardic."


Conrad's paintings, clay icons and artistic theories have been the subject of three documentary films, and her paintings and other works shown by major galleries and museums in the United States, Australia, New Zealand, and Europe. She is the daughter of the English painter, Patrick Hayman.



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