Narelle Jubelin

Foreign Affairs (The Gibbes Art Gallery Miniature Portrait Collection), 1990-91

petitpoint and faux frames with the centre (ivory) frame housing The Chicago Foreign Order Medal
9 parts, 16 x 13.5 cm approx. each
signed, dated and inscribed with title ‘Narelle Jubelin/1991/Foreign Affairs’ (on the reverse of each)

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Mori Gallery, Sydney
Private collection, Sydney

Foreign Affairs, for Places with a Past: New Site Specific Art in Charleston, curated by Mary Jane Jacobite, Customs House for the Spoleto Festival, Charleston, South Carolina, United States of America, 24 May – August 4 1991
The Subversive stitch, Mori Gallery, Sydney, 1992, cat. no. 17:1
Subversive stitch
, Monash University Gallery, Melbourne, 29
August – 28 September 1991

Mary Jane Jacob, Places with a past - new site-specific art
at Charleston's Spoleto Festival
, Rizzoli, New York, 1991
‘Subtle Tension in the work of Narelle Jubelin’, Art and Australia, Winter 1992, pp. 464-5
Ann Stephens & Luke Parker, Narelle Jubelin: Vision in Motion, The University of Sydney, Sydney, 2012, illus. p.75
Natalie King, The Subversive Stitch, Monash University
Gallery, 1991 

“Narelle Jubelin is a commodities trader, buying low, selling high, tracking objects as they and their ideological underpinnings traverse the globe. In 1991 Mary Jane Jacob curated a series of city-wide installations for the Spoleto Festival in Charleston, South Carolina. Jubelin chose the US Customs House as the site for her ongoing inquiry into colonialism and trade. The customs house, built just before and after the Civil War, is located at the historical crux of slavery and as the seat of tensions between Federal and States' Rights, between the selling of commodities and the tariffs and taxes applied to their import and exchange. Installed in the building's two-storey atrium or Business Room, Foreign Affairs introduced artifacts and artworks into the closed confines of government bureaucracy, making for an accounting of a rather different kind: the tallying of museum and non-museum, public and private, 'high' and 'low' artifacts, presaging Fred Wilson's rather more well-known museological intervention, Mining the Museum (Maryland Historical Society, Baltimore, Maryland, 1992). (Margaret Morgan, Reg & Joy Grundy Collection, Bonhams,

“In the installation, called Foreign Affairs the artist pinpointed actual and metaphoric similarities and differences between Australia and Charleston, united at they are in their colonial roots. This complex show – composed of four sets of miniatures placed in four corners of the mezzanine level of the Customs House – referenced particular aspects of Charleston’s history, and charted the relationship of that history to aspects of internationalism. The four sets of petit points included renditions of ivory portrait miniatures and miniature-like samplers of a Guggenheim catalogue list. The other two sets include renditions of slave tags and ironwork.’ (Diane Losche, ‘Subtle Tension in the Work of Narelle Jubelin’, Art and Australia, Winter 1992, Vol. 29, No. 4, p. 465)

  • Foreign Affairs (The Gibbes Art Gallery Miniature Portrait Collection)

Image courtesy of the artist

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Narelle Jubelin was born in Sydney in 1960 and has been living and working in Madrid, Spain since 1996, producing her single thread petit-point renditions of photographs that weave connections between histories and places across cultures and periods. Jubelin's practice is grounded in research and each new work is connected to previous projects by a narrative thread.

In 1990 Jubelin presented the groundbreaking exhibition Trade Delivers People at Aperto in the Venice Biennale. The exhibition explored the histories of colonialism and economics and the ways in which local resources and populations are have been exported and exploited globally.

Jubelin has exhibited widely in Australia and internationally, with major exhibitions including the solo exhibition Vision In Motion, University of Sydney, 2012, touring to Monash University Museum of Art (MUMA), Melbourne and Samstag Museum, University of South Australia, Adelaide to 2013; Sidney Nolan: Early Experiments/Narelle Jubelin: Coda, Heide Museum of Modern Art, Melbourne, Australia, 2012-2013; and The Great Divide, Angela Ferreira & Narelle Jubelin, Art Gallery of New South Wales, Sydney, 2009. Most recently, in 2019, a major three-artist exhibition, The Housing Question - Helen Grace, Narelle Jubelin, Sherre DeLys, was held at Penrith Regional Gallery. She was also, in 1985, the co-founder of Firstdraft Gallery, Sydney.