All we need is Joy – A new exhibition lights up the Immigration Museum

Open from 1 March 2024 

Callum Preston’s Videoland. Photo by Phoebe Powell. Source - Museums Victoria.

Blooming in all hues of the rainbow, a brand new exhibition opening at Immigration Museum on Friday 1 March explores the power of colour and storytelling through newly commissioned works from seven leading Victorian-based artists. 

Joy will bring the Immigration Museum to life with captivating spaces that express each creative’s own personal joy, where big joyous moments coexist with more reflective ones - from the carefree years of childhood to a celebration of belonging and togetherness. 

Seven acclaimed creatives will join forces on this emotive adventure, where every space tells a story, and every colour paints a feeling. 

Afghanistan-Australian visual artist, curator and poet Elyas Alavi will create a large-scale mural with Sher Ali depicting a Persian mythical bird called a ‘Simurgh’, featuring his trademark neon script. The Simurgh was immortalised by 12th century Sufi poet Farid ud-Din Attar – a symbolic story of the soul’s search for truth. 

‘There is a beautiful connection between this story and migration experiences,’ said Elyas. ‘As a former refugee myself, I celebrate the resilience and strength of immigrants and refugees in this artwork.’ 

Queer artist Spencer Harrison will create a runway for visitors to strut their stuff, using colour and light to convey emotion and symbolise pride - a joyful space where all identities can be celebrated. 

Venezuelan-born Australian artist Nadia Hernández will fill the Immigration Museum’s ground floor hallway with six bold collage works which commemorate ‘cotidianidad’ – meaning ‘everydayness’. These are daily moments conducive of joy such as Venezuelan recipes written and shared by her mother, and experiences of caring for her abuela. 

Globally renowned, ‘future positive’ fashion designer Nixi Killick (NKX), whose vibrant streetwear has been worn by the likes of Lady Gaga, SIA and Hiatus Kaiyote, presents the interactive Joy Generator. This vibrant and hands-on experience aims to facilitate an intimacy with colour, technology and augmented reality. 

‘Joy exists within us always, a pilot light to be awakened and activated,’ said Nixi. 

Wiradjuri artist Jazz Money fuses sculpture, mural and audio to create Our Laughter Will Become the Waterfall, which draws upon the site-specific history of the Immigration Museum’s location on the Birrarung Marr, once home to a waterfall. 

‘Cultivating joy in the everyday is to me one of the most radical acts an oppressed group can do,’ said Jazz. ‘Through laughter and joy we cease to be confined by our oppression.’ 

Celebrated local artist Beci Orpin, whose work occupies a space between illustration, design and craft, will take over a room with a giant toy rabbit called Bunny Dearest, inspired by her childhood in 70s Melbourne.

Lastly, much- loved, multi-faced pop artist/designer Callum Preston will explore joy through nostalgia with a full-scale replica of a 90s video store, ‘a joy I never thought I would miss until I realised it was gone”, he said. 

Museums Victoria is looking forward to providing a platform for such vibrant and emotive works from talented creatives with this brand new exhibition. 

‘The nature of joy is so multi-faceted and often unique to each individual. In times like these, finding joy is absolutely essential and it’s often evoked by the simplest of things,’ said Museums Victoria CEO & Director Lynley Crosswell. 

‘In our everyday, complicated lives, I have no doubt that Joy will bring much-needed happiness and a sense of community to visitors’ hearts and minds.’ 

Joy is included in Immigration Museum entry from 1 March 2024 – 29 August 2025.  

The exhibition’s joyful installations are brought to life with the support of Colour Partner Taubmans and Flooring Partner Godfrey Hirst and GH Commercial. 

For further information, visit 


Open: Friday 1 March 2024 

Location: Immigration Museum, 400 Flinders Street, Melbourne Tickets: Included with museum entry - Adults: $15 | Seniors: $10 Concession: Free | Children: Free 

Programming and Events: 

Guided Tours 

For more insight into the exhibition, highlighting engaging and diverse stories, tours will be running on Saturdays: 2 March, 16 March, 13 April, 27 April, 2.00pm-2.40pm. Free with museum entry.  Accessibility: We can assist with any access requirements you may have for this program, please contact our team on 13 11 03 or email us at [email protected] to discuss how we can support your Museum visit. 

Sneak Preview February 29 

For an up-late, sneak preview of Joy on Thursday February 29, 7-10pm, tickets are available here. 

Interviews available with: 

  • Elyas Alavi 
  • Spencer Harrison 
  • Nadia Hernández 
  • Nixi Killick (NKX) 
  • Jazz Money 
  • Beci Orpin 
  • Callum Preston 
A grey icon of a person
Media and Communications Team
Museums Victoria
[email protected]
0466 622 621

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