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Artist-in-Residence Program - Call for Artists 2022

The goal of our residency is to enable an artist to create a new work that contributes to the Museum’s mandate while advancing their art practice.

As we prepare to host The World of Yousuf Karsh: A Private Essence, an exhibition initiated, produced, and circulated by the Montreal Museum of Fine Arts our 2022 national competition will be for a portrait photographer to draw inspiration from the work of Yousuf Karsh. We are seeking a portrait photographer to work in the tradition of Karsh’s Maclean’s magazine cross-country assignment. This captivating body of work captured regular Canadians, and is considered by many to be some of his best work. While the exhibition will feature some of Karsh’s most recognizable images of famous people, the residency is inspired by Karsh’s ability to capture the humanity and dignity in all of his subjects which Stephen Dale from the National Gallery of Canada wrote, “confirm(s) that for Karsh, the refugee, the dignity of a person did not depend upon their station or circumstances.”

This will be a six month virtual residency. We are looking for a portrait photographer to partner with a community group, organization or institution to create portraits of first generation Canadians. They could be individual or family portraits. Family portraits could include first, second and third generation members. Examples of potential partners include but are not limited to settlement organizations, clubs and community centres, YMCA newcomer programs, schools and nursing homes. The photographer and their partner may host a show of the work but it is not a requirement.

Please approximate how many portraits you expect to produce but there is no minimum or maximum number as that will depend on the project and partner.

Ownership of the work will remain with the artist though we suggest that all subjects be given a copy of their portrait. We also request that the Canadian Museum of Immigration at Pier 21 be provided with digital portraits for projection to accompany the artist’s profile and artistic statement in the Chiodo Gallery foyer at several milestones and that the selected photographer share a selection of portraits and accompanying text for a virtual gallery on our website at the end of the project.

The Karsh exhibition (Halifax) is supported by Fred and Elizabeth Fountain.

Apply to Artist-in-Residence Program


Application deadline February 16, 2022 for submission to our 2022 Residency Program

Selection of artist: March 16, 2022


$15,000.00 (including all supplies, artist fee, cost of living, participant stipends if applicable etc.)

Criteria for Selection:

  • Applicant demonstrates artistic excellence and professionalism. (30)
  • The proposed project offers a collaborative way for the artist to work with a selected community group, organization or institution to create portraits that capture the beauty and humanity of their new Canadian members. (40)
  • Experience working collaboratively (20)
  • Feasibility of the proposed program. (10)

Submission Requirements:

Please submit the following items by February 16, 2022. Late or incomplete submissions will not be considered.

  • 1) Cover page/Email including full contact information
  • 2) Email, CD, DVD or USB drive including:
    • Proposal: a description of your proposed project including who you propose to partner with
    • Brief project plan with a timeline and milestones
    • Estimated budget (supplies, artist fee, cost of living, participant stipends if applicable etc.)
    • Curriculum vitae
    • Work samples (five work samples, articles or reviews, whatever best conveys your work)

A short list of up to three artists may be interviewed prior to selection.

Send or email submissions to:

Carrie-Ann Smith (she/her/elle)
Vice-President, Audience Engagement
Canadian Museum of Immigration at Pier 21
1055 Marginal Road
Halifax, NS B3H 4P7
D : 902.425.0071 T : 902.425.7770 ext. 225 F : 902.423.4045

Aquil Virani, Artist-in-Residence 2021

Award-winning visual artist, graphic designer and filmmaker Aquil Virani has been selected for the Museum’s first virtual residency.

Inspired by the Museum’s new film "Contributions" playing in the Canadian Immigration Hall, Aquil's proposed project invites participants across Canada to digitally submit stories of the immigrant heroes in their lives – whether in writing, photographs, drawings or video – to

Share your story and watch as Aquil integrates the public submissions into a large-scale collaborative artwork and video. Once completed, viewers can click on the final image of the project at to see a high-resolution version of the piece and relish in the details.

Artist Katarina Marinic.

2019 - An Ocean of Change
Katarina Marinic

Katarina recently graduated with an MFA from NSCAD University in 2019. She has a BFA with a major in photography from NSCAD in 2017, and a diploma in Applied Photography from Sheridan College.

artist Shauna MacLeod

2018 - Refuge Canada
Shauna MacLeod

Shauna MacLeod is a NSCAD graduate who has been working as a studio potter since 2012. She is one of a handful of ceramic artists working with Nova Scotia red earthenware clay.

artist Andrea Tsang

Andrea Tsang Jackson

Andrea is an emerging textile artist who holds a Master’s Degree in Architecture from McGill University and a Master’s Degree in Arts in Education from the Harvard Graduate School of Education. Her work has been published in Flare, the Chronicle Herald, and The Coast.

man smiling holding a banner

2016 - To Those Still At Sea...
Kyle Jackson

Kyle Jackson is a multidisciplinary artist who works with paint and interactive sculpture. A graduate of NSCADU with a Degree in Painting, Kyle’s art practice is primarily spent creating and building work to charm and engage the world.