Tuesday, February 10, 2009


Che Kothari Biography
“Let’s take this back to the artistic culture where arts are respected.”
Culture. Opportunity. Change. These are the words that sum up what Che Kothari
stands for. At the young age of twenty-five he has become an established
photographer and leader within his community, dedicated to fostering other young
artists in his city. Raised in Guelph, Ontario, he moved to Toronto at the age of 17 to
pursue an education at Ryerson University for image Arts while immersing himself
in the cultural arts the city had to offer.
Not long after studying the art, beauty and technicalities of photography in the Image
Arts Program, did he find himself shooting professionally for events around the city.
His name was becoming known as his passion for the art grew and he decided to
take the next step in his career; his own studio. With business partner, Ryan
Paterson, he started up Hightop Studio – a company dedicated to photography, web
design, event production and management. Through his work with Hightop,
opportunities came flushing in from many different companies including Red Bull
Canada, Sony/BMG, FIDO and many more. To date, he has also shot intimate portrait
sessions with the likes of Ziggy Marley, k-os, Ice Cube, Zaki Ibrahim, Faith Evans,
T.I., Common, Talib Kweli and many others for renowned magazines and
publications. During all of this work, Che continually spread the opportunities he
was getting to up and coming and interested artists surrounding him. He would also
continually do work for the ‘big guys’ to sustain himself but offer his services for
individuals and groups that could not afford the type of work he and Hightop were
able to offer.
The next major step for Che was founding a non-profit organization, Manifesto
Community Projects, of which he is currently the Executive Director. Manifesto is a
grassroots organization working to unite, energize, support and celebrate Toronto’s
vibrant and diverse music and arts community, and find innovative ways of
working together towards common goals. Manifesto aims to provide a platform and
the resources needed to advance the growth of the arts as a tool for positive change,
on the individual, community and city level. Manifesto’s main initiative is a 4 day
annual festival. Growing to be the largest and most unique festival of its kind in the
city in two short years, the annual Manifesto Festival of Music, Art & Culture brings
together countless community members, artists, performers, and audience
members to showcase our city’s vibrant arts community and strengthen its
foundations by building a collective sense of pride and possibility. Featuring an array
of events, from art exhibitions, dance showcases, workshops, free outdoor
concerts, film screenings, and more, the festival combines a grassroots,
community-focused essence with a production quality often associated only with
commercial-scale productions. The festival is the culmination of all of the work
Manifesto does and provides an annual burst of energy and inspiration in the city,
and is a vehicle for furthering all of our objectives simultaneously.
On top of his freelance photography work and projects with Hightop and Manifesto,
Che is a founding member and the managing director of one of Canada’s leading
online music websites, Earwaks.com, founding member and active participant of the
Canadian Youth Arts Network and leads various photography and leadership
workshops for youth. In 2008 Che also became the 2008 Execute Director for Ignite
the Americas Youth Arts Policy Forum. Ignite The Americas was an initiative that
brought together young artists, industry professionals, policy experts and
government authorities from 30 countries across the Americas to explore and
develop effective ways to amplify the power that arts and culture has in building
social inclusion and generating economic opportunities. Since the forum Che has
presented the findings in Barbados at the Fourth Inter American Meeting on Culture
of the Organization of American States for Cultural Ministers and Highest
Appropriate Authorities as well as in Washington to The Inter-American Committee
on Culture of the OAS and most recently Che attended the Summit of The Americas
in Trinidad and Tobago as part of the Canadian Delegation. At the beginning of 2009,
Che was also invited as a Diverse City fellow by the Toronto City Summit Alliance,
which is aiming to change the way leadership in Toronto looks.
As far as Che is concerned, nothing can stop him from sharing his talent with the
world. He is determined to make a difference in his community in hopes that
emerging artists will shape and follow his lead. Whether through photography,
cultural events, mentoring or workshops, Che leads with the utmost intelligence and
passion for what he does; create change.


1 comment:

charlie I said...

WOw... to think, I get to know this guy an get to call him my friend.