Narelle Jubelin

Minaret, River Cave, Jenolan Caves, 1989
petit point with found wooden frame
34.0 x 41.6 x 9.0 cm
signed, dated and inscribed with title (on the reverse)


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A gift from the artist to the present owner, c.1989

‘Narelle Jubelin’s detailed and intricate petit point embroideries fascinate due to their conceptual references and the range of connections they evoke, their existence as both objects and images, and the demonstrable skill and time required to make them...

As always in her work, which is often made for a particular site, the accumulation of images, objects and references sets up unexpected associations and links: ideological, visual, economic, historical.’ (W. Tunnicliffe, 'Contemporary Handbook', Art Gallery of New South Wales, 2006, p.176)

This is a Jubelin petit point of the Minaret, a noted stalagmite in the River Cave of the Jenolan Caves in New South Wales. It is housed in a carved wooden mantel clock, adorned with ivy leaves – traditional symbols of fidelity and marriage. The minaret is a well-known feature of far Eastern architecture. The word conjures exciting images of grand forms and the exotic; a classic example of the absurd system of naming natural forms in the caves, so they will emerge from the darkness to dazzle a captive audience.

The discovery of the Jenolan Caves in the 1840s created one of the earliest markets for leisure tourism in Australia. To Jubelin, it represents a beacon of the ingrained divergence of interests between the colony and the country’s Indigenous custodians.

This is a small, intimate image that necessitates close looking. Ann Stephen has said the slowed down process of experiencing a Jubelin is a mix of ‘complicity, shock and seduction in a sleight of hand.’ The thread of feminist and postcolonial theory running through Jubelin’s work makes this an equally explosive and beautiful image carefully laiden with meaning.

  • Minaret, River Cave, Jenolan Caves

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.