Botaniko, Esperanto for botanical, comprises 12 botanical artists living in and around Hobart, Tasmania. Most of its members have been, at one time or another, students of one of Australia’s leading botanical artists, Lauren Black. Botaniko was formed in 2014.
The aim of the group is to foster the enjoyment of botanical art mainly through the medium of graphite drawing, colour pencils and/or watercolour; to pursue projects of botanical significance within Tasmania, culminating in an exhibition; and to continue developing skills through workshops with external artists. The members meet on a weekly basis from February to early December, working on a variety of individual and/or joint projects.
2021/22: Botaniko is honoured to be granted access to the magnificent gardens of Government House, Hobart, to paint and document some of the plants of significance from the earliest garden development, commemorative plantings by distinguished visitors and former Governors through to the more contemporary plantings.
Botaniko members have completed their major project for 2021, recognising the work of plant collectors Ken Gillanders OAM and his late wife Lesley who collected from countries once part of the ancient continent of Gondwanaland. Many of the plants collected by Ken and Lesley are growing at their former home, Woodbank Gardens at Longley. With the kind permission of the current owners, Harry and the late Kerry van den Berg, Botaniko members have put the final touches to their work which was displayed at the Channel Museum at Margate in February 2022.The exhibition is currently on display at the Morris Miller Library, UTas. It will be on display at the Kettering Chamber Music concert on Sunday, May 8, then move to the Art Lounge at the West Winds Community Centre, Woodbridge from May 23 to June 6.
During 2020 members worked with the Tasmanian Herbarium and the Tasmanian Museum and Art Gallery (TMAG) to paint a selection of native and introduced plants found growing on the Wind Song property, on the Tasmanian East Coast, part of which has recently been returned to the Traditional Owners by the Tenniswood family. The Morris Miller Libray (UTas), the Kettering Community Hall, West Winds Community Centre, Woodbridge, and is now on display at the Kingston Library until November 29, 2021.
Since its inception members of the group have participated in a number of projects, including:
2014: Port Arthur Historic site: An Exotic Garden – Port Arthur: Unlocking the botanical journey, depicting plants transported to the Port Arthur penal settlement, along with convicts, a commandant, officers and soldiers.
2015: Tasmanian Museum and Art Gallery (TMAG): Reverend Robert Knopwood’s kitchen garden, depicting plants grown between 1804-1824, in the garden located on the land later occupied by Narryna in Battery Point, Hobart.
2016: A return to the Port Arthur Historic Site by invitation, to continue the journey: Port Arthur – An Exotic Garden: Unlocking the Botanical Journey Part 2. Plants of medicinal, culinary, and industrial significance used by the early settlers of the site in 1800’s.
2017: Most Botaniko members worked on a special project in association with the Royal Tasmanian Botanical Gardens, to commemorate the Garden’s bicentenary in 2018.
2018: A number of Botaniko members returned to the Narryna Heritage Museum to document and paint plants listed in the journal of Frederick Mackie, while sojourning in Tasmania during 1852-54. The resulting art works were exhibited at the Narryna Museum in 2019-20, then travelled to several venues throughout 2021, including Swansea, being a popular location at the time for Frederick Mackie, along with George Washington Walker and James Backhouse.
2019-2020: After accompanying botanists from the Tasmanian Herbarium during 2017, and with return trips in 2018-2019, members of Botaniko selected and painted some 40 plants, part of the Herbarium’s audit at Wind Song. The resulting works were exhibited in the Salon Gallery (Tasmanian Museum and Art Gallery), during the summer of 2020-2021, then travelled to a number of venues on the East Coast and Southern parts of Tasmania.