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Anita Barley (formerly Anita Podwyszynski) has worked as a professional artist for over four decades. 

After completion of a Diploma in Graphic Design at the Royal Melbourne Institute of Technology she commenced work as a botanical illustrator with the Royal Botanic Gardens Melbourne in 1977, the first person to be appointed to such a role with the historic and prestigious Gardens for more than 90 years. Anita performed this role for sixteen years, working mainly on the illustrated Flora of Victoria project, completing hundreds of coloured and black-and-white plates for this major scientific reference work. She also provided scientific illustrations for taxonomic papers, the Flora of Australia, Government publications and other projects. 

Since departing from the botanic gardens in 1992, she has continued to work freelance, providing further illustrations for scientific papers and publications, together with other chosen botanical paintings and commissions. Anita’s special place in the history of botanical art in Australia was recognised in the publication ‘Australia: 300 years of Botanical Illustration’ by Dr Helen Hewson in 1999. 


Anita began teaching botanical illustration at Burnley Horticultural College in 1986. She has twice been awarded the Celia Rosser Medal (2002, 2006) in recognition of the quality of her detailed botanical artworks and her sustained contributions to ‘The Art of Botanical Illustration’ exhibitions hosted at the Royal Botanic Gardens Melbourne. 

Having lived at Woodend in country Victoria for 23 years, Anita has recently relocated to Kew Gardens in London where she continues to produce extraordinarily detailed botanical and other nature-themed artwork, including for Kew's scientific papers and Curtis's Botanical Magazine. In October 2013, she was elected a Fellow of the Linnaean Society of London.

In 2016, Anita was awarded the prestigious Jill Smythies Award for Botanical Illustration by the Linnaean Society, London.

Anita Barley has exhibited widely, including:

2023/2024 The Royal Scottish Society of Painters in Watercolour Annual Exhibition (Royal Scottish Academy, Edinburgh)

2021 Summer Exhibition (the Gallery at Green and Stone, London)

2019 'Wild' (the Gallery at Green and Stone, London)

2018 'Plans and Plants of the Temperate House' (Shirley Sherwood Gallery, Kew Gardens)

2014 ‘Sea, Earth, Sky. Points of Connection’ (Woodbine Art Gallery, Malmsbury)

2013 Isaac Sutton Collection (Shirley Sherwood Gallery, Kew Gardens) 

2012 ‘The Marvellous and the Singular’ (Woodbine Art Gallery, Malmsbury) 

2012 ‘Capturing Flora – 300 years of Australian Botanical Art’ (Art Gallery of Ballarat) 

2011 ‘The Eternal Order in Nature’ (Royal Botanic Gardens, Melbourne) 

2010 ‘Botanicals: Environmental Expression in Art’ (The Alisa & Isaac Sutton Collection, Hunt Institute for Botanical Documentation, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, USA) 

2009 ‘Reframing Darwin: Evolution and Art in Australia’ (Ian Potter Museum of Art, University of Melbourne) 

2009 ‘Botanicasia’ (Royal Botanic Gardens, Melbourne) 

2008 Nellie Castan Galle (Melbourne)

2008 ‘Nature in Art 2’ (Woodbine Art Gallery, Malmsbury) 

2007 ‘Nature in Art’ (Woodbine Art Gallery, Malmsbury)

2006 The Masters Exhibition (Royal Botanic Gardens, Sydney) 

2005 Red Box Gallery (Royal Botanic Gardens, Sydney) 

2005 Campaspe House (Woodend, Vic) 

2004 Anita Barley (Woodbine Art Gallery, Malmsbury) 

2003 The Mill (Malmsbury)

2003 State Botanical Collection ‘Nature’s Art Revealed’ (Royal Botanic Gardens, Melbourne)

2002 ‘Buda’ (Castlemaine) 

2000-2001 Benalla Art Gallery 

1996 Gregory River Expedition (Royal Botanic Gardens, Melbourne) 

1994 Westpac Gallery, Melbourne 

1994 Maclelland Gallery, Langwarrin 

1992 – 2008 ‘Art of Botanical Illustration’ (Royal Botanic Gardens, Melbourne) 

1989 Ballarat Art Gallery 

selected artwork.



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