The 16th Art of Botanical Illustration

16 September – 3 October 2022

The Friends of the Royal Botanic Gardens Melbourne will be hosting the sixteenth biennial ‘The Art of Botanical Illustration’ (TABI) Exhibition between Friday 16th September and Sunday 3rd October 2022.

TABI 2022 will be hybrid exhibition displaying selected art works in the galleries of Domain House and additionally, following the success of TABI 2020 online, a concurrent virtual exhibition will be presented.

TABI 2022 will coincide with the 7th Global Botanic Gardens Congress (26th – 30th September 2022), which will be hosted by the Royal Botanic Gardens Victoria , RBGV, (  The theme of the Congress is Influence and Action: Botanic Gardens as Agents of Change with a particular focus on the response of Botanic Gardens to climate change, including plant conservation and climate resilience.  During the Congress, the RBGV will be showcasing specific areas within the Melbourne Botanic Gardens including the Arid and Drylands precinct, Fern Gully (including the Sensory Garden) and Working Wetlands and Lake System.

Initial Information for Artists

The alignment with the Congress provides a wonderful opportunity for TABI 2022 to present botanical  works reflecting the theme of the Congress by including some artworks representative of plants from these significant areas listed below within the Melbourne Gardens.

While artist’s selection of a subject is a personal one, if you are considering submitting works in TABI we encourage you to explore the attached list of plants (see below).

Request for Plant Samples

If you are interested in any of the plants on these lists,  please complete this form to arrange for plant samples for your artwork(s). The Friends of the Gardens will liaise on your behalf with the horticultural staff at the Gardens to provide sample of flowers, fruits, twigs, leaves and buds where possible. Once you have submitted your request, an assessment will be made to determine if samples can be provided and when. The Friends will notify you of possible collection dates.

Please note:
• Artists will be notified of the collection date for their plant sample. If you are unable to collect your sample on this date, you may need to ask a friend or family member to collect it for you as the horticultural staff will be trying to provide the best possible, freshest sample to you.
• Plant samples will not be posted therefore you must be able to physically pick up the sample.

If you are unable to collect a sample from the Melbourne Gardens, you may still like to paint/draw one of the plants listed in the above lists however you may need to source a sample from your local Botanic Garden or Garden Nursery.

Additionally, if you prefer not to paint a species from the plant lists above but would still like to paint a plant growing within the Melbourne Botanic Gardens, you may like to search the Royal Botanic Garden Plant Census which lists all plants in both the Melbourne and Cranbourne Gardens.

While we are keen to support the theme of the Congress in TABI 2022, artists are not required to paint/draw subject matter listed above to be selected in this exhibition. 

Brief Guidelines and Applications

As previously, artworks included in TABI are selected by an experienced professional panel, against standardised criteria for scientific accuracy and artistic quality.  The artwork must provide an accurate representation of the form and botany of the chosen subject with the characteristics of the species or variety adequately conveyed; the representation should be an artistically pleasing, balanced and a considered work of art.  The artwork must be identified and named accurately according to standard botanical practices; and must have been completed within the previous two years.

Additionally, please remember that while we are keen to support the theme of the Congress in TABI 2022, artists are not required to paint/draw subject matter listed above to be selected in this exhibition. 

Full Guidelines for TABI 2022 will be available in late 2021.

Applications will open in early 2022.