Museum’s Artist-in-Residence Unveils Collaborative Celebration of “Our Immigrant Stories”

The Canadian Museum of Immigration at Pier 21 invites the public to an online event on Friday, March 4 at 7:00pm ET – an unveiling of the participatory artwork produced by Aquil Virani as part of his virtual artist residency. The multimedia project – integrating text, photographs, and audio interviews from 100 participants across Canada – celebrates “the immigrant heroes in our lives” and the “multiple ways, big and small, that immigrants impact our lives.” The online conversation will be hosted by Aria Umezawa, an acclaimed stage director, producer, writer, and co-founder of Amplified Opera.

“I want us to take a moment to think about those we are grateful for, about those who have built a new life in a new place,” says Virani, the Toronto-based visual artist and child of two immigrants. “It’s important to write down the stories of courage that are all around us!” The interdisciplinary project was the first national (and virtual) artist residency hosted by the Museum. Participants submitted their stories through the project website in late 2021. Register on Eventbrite here.


Aquil Virani is an award-winning visual artist, graphic designer and filmmaker who blurs the line between art and activism, often integrating public participation into his socially-conscious art projects. Learn more at

As curator Celine Le Merlus of the Stewart Hall Art Gallery explains, “his approach, which aims not simply to assert a personal point of view on a pressing social issue, but also to facilitate opportunities for others to express themselves freely – to speak and be heard – is characteristic of all of Aquil’s work.” Virani’s work has been supported financially by the Canada Council for the Arts, the Ontario Arts Council, the Toronto Arts Council and the City of Ottawa, in addition to the Silk Road Institute, the Michaelle Jean Foundation, the International Centre of Art for Social Change, TakingITGlobal and the Government of Canada. He is the Museum’s first national artist-in-residence.


The Canadian Museum of Immigration at Pier 21 hosts an annual artist residency. Located in the national historic site at the Halifax seaport, Canada’s sixth national museum shares the ongoing story of immigration to Canada.“In reading Aquil’s proposal, I was immediately struck by his desire to create something positive during what is a very challenging time in the country,” said Marie Chapman, CEO of the Canadian Museum of Immigration at Pier 21. Due to Covid-19, this residency is the Museum’s first fully virtual project, resulting from the Museum’s first national artist competition.


The public is invited to sign up for the event on Friday, March 4 at 7:00pm ET.
Register on Eventbrite here.