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.
Courtesy of the artist