Selected works by Jamie Shovlin

Jamie Shovlin
Naomi V Jelish

2004

Mixed media

Dimensions Variable

Naomi V Jelish’s life story is one of pathos and tragedy.

Her strange tale is explained to visitors on labels, in newspaper cuttings, photographs, school reports and through personal mementoes.

Naomi showed great aptitude for art in the face of complete indifference from her family and school. But in 1991, a few months after her father drowned, Naomi, then 13, her mother, and her four siblings mysteriously walked out of the family home in Gravesend, Kent, and despite extensive police inquiries, none of them has been seen or heard of again. A cutting from the Kent Messenger discloses that in September 1990 Naomi won "the prestigious North Kent Student Art Prize".

In August the following year the paper reported that police were concerned because the family had vanished. Neighbours said the family seemed "cursed". David Jelish, the head of the family and a road mender with Kent county council, had drowned while saving one of the children, another child had recently survived electrocution and Vanessa, the children’s mother, was suffering from a stress-related illness following the death of her youngest son in 1989.

A book accompanying the display at the Saatchi Gallery goes on to say that Naomi’s precocious drawings were recovered from the abandoned house some time later by the late John Ivesmail, a science teacher at Naomi’s school who had befriended the family. Though beguiled by her sketches, he waited until 1999 to show them in a small exhibition in Gravesend.

Soon after, he passed Naomi’s pictures to a friend, a young artist called Jamie Shovlin, who curated an exhibition of the drawings, along with all Jelish memorabilia recovered from their house and the newspaper cuttings.

The story of Naomi is moving, but it is a hoax, the products of the imagination of Shovlin, 25, from Leicester, a graduate of the Royal College of Art, who spent three years creating the fantasy.
He produced the drawings, the cuttings, the school reports et al in order, as he explained, "to test the boundaries of ambiguity".

Naomi V Jelish and John Ivesmail are anagrams of Jamie Shovlin.

Text by Nigel Reynolds

Jamie Shovlin
Naomi V Jelish

2004

Extraneous Drawings, Private Sketchbooks & School Sketchbooks

Jamie Shovlin
Naomi V Jelish

2004

Extraneous Drawings, Private Sketchbooks & School Sketchbooks

Jamie Shovlin
Naomi V Jelish

2004

Extraneous Drawings, Private Sketchbooks & School Sketchbooks

Jamie Shovlin
Naomi V Jelish

2004

Extraneous Drawings, Private Sketchbooks & School Sketchbooks

Jamie Shovlin
Naomi V Jelish

2004

Extraneous Drawings, Private Sketchbooks & School Sketchbooks

Jamie Shovlin
Naomi V Jelish

2004

Extraneous Drawings, Private Sketchbooks & School Sketchbooks

Jamie Shovlin
Naomi V Jelish

2004

Extraneous Drawings, Private Sketchbooks & School Sketchbooks

Jamie Shovlin
Naomi V Jelish

2004

Extraneous Drawings, Private Sketchbooks & School Sketchbooks

Jamie Shovlin
Naomi V Jelish

2004

Extraneous Drawings, Private Sketchbooks & School Sketchbooks

Jamie Shovlin
Naomi V Jelish

2004

Extraneous Drawings, Private Sketchbooks & School Sketchbooks

Jamie Shovlin
Naomi V Jelish

2004

Extraneous Drawings, Private Sketchbooks & School Sketchbooks

Jamie Shovlin
Naomi V Jelish

2004

Extraneous Drawings, Private Sketchbooks & School Sketchbooks

Jamie Shovlin
Naomi V Jelish

2004

Extraneous Drawings, Private Sketchbooks & School Sketchbooks

Jamie Shovlin
Naomi V Jelish

2004

Extraneous Drawings, Private Sketchbooks & School Sketchbooks

Jamie Shovlin
Naomi V Jelish

2004

Extraneous Drawings, Private Sketchbooks & School Sketchbooks


Articles

NAOMI V. JELISH; JAMIE SHOVLIN


In July 1991, 13-year-old Naomi V. Jelish and her family mysteriously vanished from their home in Kent, after a tragic year in which her father died after attempting to save her younger brother from drowning. Shortly after the family's disappearance, John Ivesmail, a retired science teacher at Naomi's school, unearthed a collection of the teenager's remarkable drawings.
In the years following the disappearance, John attempted to trace what had happened to the family through an investigation of Naomi's incredible artworks. John hoped to throw light on the family's bizarre vanishing by mounting an exhibition of the youngster's work.
John died in 2002 before his desire to open the exhibition could be achieved. Despite this, the show John had planned was realised in the presentation of Naomi's work at the Riflemaker Gallery in 2004, overseen by the artist Jamie Shovlin. Since their early nineties disappearance, Naomi and her family have never been heard from.
In the 10 years prior to his death, John Ivesmail sent copies of many of the documents he accumulated, in his attempt to bring Naomi's work to a larger audience, to friends and colleagues seeking advice and an assessment of his work. We are pleased to be able to display the most comprehenssive collection of this material to date.
With the assistance of Jamie Shovlin we are also able to present a number of supplementary documents and examples of Naomi's drawings allowing us to contextualise the archive and place it within the framework begun with the Riflemaker exhibition of Naomi's work and its subsequent display at the Saatchi Gallery whilst also addressing many of the questions raised through the recovery of additional works by Naomi in July 2004.

Source: www.naomivjelish.org.uk