Blackwood Tokonoma

Blackwood Tokonoma  

View Blackwood Tokonoma exhibitions here.


The Blackwood Tokonoma is a curated exhibition space at the top of the stairs on entry to Mr Kitly. The wall is native Blackwood (Acacia melanoxylon) timber, with the niche inspired by the concept of tokonoma. A tokonoma is a recessed space in a reception room, “—the place of honour in a Japanese room where paintings and flowers are placed for the edification of the guests” (Kakuzo Okakura. “The Book of Tea.”). 

Late 2022 marks the beginning of a seasonal calendar for the Blackwood Tokonoma exhibitions. The 'by Season' exhibition schedule denotes six seasonal phases of the year and draws on the Kulin nations calendar and (Melbourne Botanic Gardens Director) Dr Timothy Entwisle’s proposition of a renewed seasonal calendar that more accurately reflects the conditions of the land around us. This schedule brings a seasonal context to each exhibition. Whilst not prescriptive, the changing seasonal focus aims to provide a source of inspiration for the works included. The hope is that with each passing year the ‘by Season’ exhibitions will tell a story.

By Season

High Summer (Dec, Jan)
blue skies, pink dawns, still days and brown butterflies, deep purple blue agapanthus white cosmos easy salvia blush red yellow fragrant roses in the garden, hydrangeas too but they need the shade, greens turning to yellowing the landscape not all dried out yet (if it's been a good spring) but we know it's coming, ocean swims, summer thundery storms roll in from the north and west, catching the water for the summer veg harvests, when the yellowtail cockatoos come down from the mountains they make a racket and bring the rain, bursts of searing heat - leave water out for the birds and animals, bunjil (wedgetail eagle) breeding season, summer solstice longest day of the year, garrawang (kangaroo apple season)

Late Summer (Feb - March)
tomatoes, tomatoes, tomatoes, dionysian peaches, bursting figs, zucchinis too many, parched landscape, the heat, bright light, seeking shade, rivers are low, hibernate, garden growth is checked with the hot and lack of water, dreaded north-westerlies, southerly cool changes bring relief but turn the fire fronts, yellow grasses for miles and miles, resinous air blue haze and crackling gum leaves underfoot watch out for the widowmaker falling on the dry still days, worried eye on the forecast scanning the horizon for smoke, seeking water, biderap (dry season) to luk (eel season)

Autumn (April, May)
waiting for the autumn break, cooling evenings, dew on the grass, relief, garden back to action time for planting, ripening apples, easter camping, banksia flowering, peak fungi pine mushroom foraging, magpies warbling and shoulder hunched running its easier to find worms in the dewy ground, longer shadows, golden trees in melbourne's grand parks, cows kangaroos and wallabies feeding on autumn growth, still morning mists laying in valleys.

Deep Winter (June, July)
cold, green, peak rainfall, bare trees in the parks, big southwesterlies, winter solstice shortest day of year, water droplets on tree fern fronds deep in the valleys, backyard cumquats abundant, wombats emerge to graze watch out for them on the road, things slow but still growing – we have no snowy blanket, calving season, echidnas breeding, cockatoos on the move screeching, barak's wattle the perfume wattle (silver wattle) flowers first, early nancys start to flower, the deep pink spires of the state emblem common heath appear under the mountain ash, pink red white camellias against glossy green, southern right whales cruising past in bass strait

Early Spring (August, Sept)
the start of the seasonal year, peak wattle flowering yellow everywhere, black buds on golden ash, light green clouds of elm trees, early orchard tree blossom pink flowering almonds, crabapples, beautiful ringing bush bushwalking and wildflower season (petyan in the gariwerd calendar – season of the wildflowers in the grampians), but watch your step snakes are waking up, birds begin nesting, welcome gentle warmth, the currawongs are calling, guling (orchid) season and poorneet (tadpole) season

Spring to Summer (Oct, Nov)
changeable, windy, picnics, daylight savings and warming evenings, but still some rain, green spring harvests – peas, broadbeans, koo wee rup asparagus, heat waves out of nowhere, sudden cold, second burst of flowering, still plenty of green growth, pasture grasses increasing, everybody on the lawnmovers, hayfever sneezing, native grasses starting to flower, later wattles in bloom along with clouds of white teatree, snakes and lizards about, young kangaroos come out of pouch, silky oaks yellow orange flowering branches up high, wild apples blossoming on roadsides, magpies swooping, hawks hovering over pastures, territorial birds, got to get the tomatoes in by melbourne cup day (why?)

Woiwurrung language terms are italicised. 

See information about the Kulin Nations calendar and seasonal knowledge of tens of thousands of years here.
Read more about Timothy Entwisle's seasons here.

Mr Kitly is located on Bulleke-bek country. We acknowledge the Wurundjeri Woi-wurrung people as the traditional custodians of the unceded land and waters where we live and work and pay our deepest respect to Elders past, present and emerging. It's a privilege to walk this land together.