Culture. Opportunity. Change. These are the words that sum up what Che Kothari stands for. At the young age of 25 he has become an established photographer and leader within his community, dedicated to fostering other young artists in Toronto. 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 that 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.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 in from many different companies including Red Bull Canada, Sony/BMG, FIDO and many more.
The next major step for Che was starting 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 communities. Finding 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 at the individual, community, and city level. Manifesto’s main initiative is an annual four-day festival, the Manifesto Festival of Music, Art & Culture. In two short years, the festival has grown to be the largest of its kind in the Greater Toronto Area. The festival brings together communities, artists, performers, and audience members to showcase the city’s vibrant arts scene, strengthening those foundations by building a collective sense of pride and possibility. Featuring a variety 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. A culmination of all of the work Manifesto does, the festival provides an annual burst of energy and inspiration in the city, and is a vehicle for furthering all of our objectives simultaneously.