Category Storytelling

In Conversation With Trevor Twells

Trevor Twells, MakeRoom Inc. at union Station

Art is a powerful tool of expression. The hopes we have in the past can shape our futures. The ability to create something new or better depends on our ability to imagine it. These ideas and the prompt of what it means to dream while Black are at the core of Union Station’s newest exhibit, Black Dreams and Aspirations, sponsored by TD. This two-part exhibit showcases the artwork of 12 black Toronto-based artists, whose voices interconnect to share past hopes and hope for a new future.  We were delighted to speak with our partner, Trevor Twells, Founder, Design Lead, and Curator with MakeRoom Inc., as the Black Dreams and Aspirations exhibit takes center stage at Union’s West Wing and Oak Room for the next six months. 



Can you tell us about MakeRoom Inc. and the partnership with Union?

“MakeRoom Inc is an arts organization and curatorial agency. Our mission is to create opportunities for BIPOC and emerging artists. We partner with institutions to create meaningful art experiences and activations. Our collaboration with Union station was born out of a shared mission to create an equitable platform for artists. We both understand the impact that public exhibitions and space making has for artists and the public, so this collaboration came very naturally.”

Yasin.Osman Artwork

What drew you to the theme of Dreams and Aspirations? Was there a specific message you wanted to convey through the theme?

“We feel that there is an over-representation of sadness, trauma and mourning during Black History Month, especially in the media.  It can be emotionally difficult to be constantly bombarded with public reminders of violent histories. We wanted to choose a theme that strayed away from these common tropes and gave the opportunity for the public to see diverse Black perspectives. We also wanted to give room for imagination and play. The theme Dreams and Aspirations encompasses that.” 


The featured artists answered what it means to dream through their artwork.  What does it mean to you? 

“Dreams and aspirations are important because they are the building blocks of life and progress. Dreams from the past dictate the present, and our dreams in the present have the power to shape the future. Dreams are the first step to creating a better future, both collectively and individually.  We wanted this project to inspire that kind of imagination.” 

West Wing Art

The work in the West Wing is comprised of two collections that will rotate mid-way through the exhibit. What informed the groupings and what can we expect to see in the second collection?

“The way the colours and design elements from different works complement each other contribute to a strong visual story. In the first collection, the bright, dynamic colours flow into each other and create a dream-like cohesion when viewed as a whole.  You also have very different characters posing in a way that creates movement as if they are the same figure revolving. The collection is punctuated on the far left with a piece about collaboration. If you read the story from right to left, there’s a unique strength and self-possessed quality in each character, while they undergo a shared motion, and in the end they come together to collaborate towards their dreams. You could also read the story from left to right, where the strength and self-possession of the characters is the result of the collaboration towards a better future. 

For the second collection, we don’t want to give too much away before it is unveiled, but you can expect more visual storytelling and more diverse perspectives on the theme of Black Dreams and Aspirations. We also have a few surprises.”


What’s coming up next for you, and for MakeRoom Inc?

“In the months before kicking off this project with Union, we built a new digital platform to facilitate and streamline the curatorial process. We got some great feedback from our partners at Union and TD, and we’re really excited to use this platform in more upcoming collaborations. 

We’ll be curating a new Space Project collection in the coming weeks. The Space Project is our initiative to create outdoor nighttime public art installations. These installations can be seen on our partner spaces’ storefront windows at night. Artists can sign up at to be informed when there’s an open call.”


Thank you, Trevor, for the opportunity to learn more about MakeRoom Inc and the Black Dreams and Aspirations exhibit. 

Visit Union Station’s West Wing and Oak Room today to experience the powerful and breathtaking artwork for yourself. To learn more about the exhibit, artwork, and artists, click here. To stay up to date on all the events happening at Union, check out our Events Page here