Get close to the art while remaining physically distanced. Swing by and meet Toronto-based photo-video artist Ella Cooper from the sidewalk. Sign up for a limited time slot.


ella cooper
Detail from the forthcoming FENTSTER installation, Witness, from the series Self-Portrait by Ella Cooper.

Get close to the art while remaining physically distanced. Swing by and meet the artist from the sidewalk. Sign up for a limited time slot, here.

Sidewalk Soirée

Get close to the art while remaining physically distanced. Swing by and meet the artist from the safety of sidewalk in front of the FENTSTER window gallery!


How will the Sidewalk Soirée work?

  • ⚈  15 minute time slots limited to 10 visitors are available between 7 PM and 9 PM on Tuesday, October 13. The gathering is planned rain or shine but check Facebook for updates.
  • ⚈  Please sign up for just one time slot and arrive right on time (not early). Thank you for moving on in a timely manner to make room for the next group. (There is a lot of space right across the street in front of Kensington Community School to wait or to finish a conversation.)
  • ⚈  Everyone is requested to wear a mask and to make every effort to maintain distance.
  • ⚈  Kindly be aware of and make room for passersby on the sidewalk so our neighbours continue to love us!
  • ⚈  Look at art, meet the artist and the curator, chat with fellow art lovers from a distance!!
  • If you are unable to attend, kindly reach out to us in advance to make the spot available to someone else:

About the Exhibition

The visceral and captivating photographs featured in the FENTSTER installation Witness were created by artist Ella Cooper’s performance of her inner emotional state, drawing on techniques of Butoh—a Japanese dance practice that she studied during an artist residency in Berlin. There she sought an embodied way to explore the feelings of loss, isolation and displacement evoked by being in a city marked by devastation and Jewish absence. Berlin stirred her formative experiences growing up in Montreal’s Jewish community, being raised within Jewish tradition while feeling outside it. To make these images, the artist stepped out from the tumult of the city into the intimacy of one of the many outdoor photobooths across Berlin. The work – vulnerable and revealing – takes on additional layers of meaning presented in the highly public space of the FENTSTER window and amidst the ongoing pandemic when many of us have passed months in seclusion, forced to face ourselves in unprecedented ways amidst a climate of racial unrest and heightened social inequalities. Refusing to be contained, a world of emotion comes to the surface in these photographs – reverberating with philosopher Emmanuel Lévinas’ assertion that, in its particularity and infinity, the human face “demands justice.”


[IMAGE: From the series Self-Portrait by Ella Cooper, exhibited in Witness on view now at FENTSTER]


About the Artist

ELLA COOPER is an award-winning cultural leader, producer, facilitator, photo-video artist, educator and programmer based in Toronto. She has worked in the arts and culture sector for almost 20 years. Her creative work explores the diaspora, the creation of positive representations of the Black body in Canada, equity and arts for social change, community storytelling, contemporary dance and hybrid identity. Cooper is also the founder of Black Women Film! Canada, a collective  and leadership initiative supporting the development of Black women filmmakers. She designs and facilitates transformative leadership, anti-oppression and arts empowerment programs for diverse communities, youth and non-profit organizations across Canada, the United States, Europe, the Caribbean and South Africa. Cooper holds a Masters of Education and has served as part time faculty at University of Toronto Scarborough. In addition, she continues to be a featured speaker and guest facilitator for national and international conferences. In 2019, Cooper was nominated for a Mayor’s Arts Cultural Leadership Award, and in 2017 was a Fellow in the Toronto Arts Council’s Leaders Lab. Cooper’s work has been presented in galleries, public spaces and festivals in Toronto, Vancouver, Calgary, Los Angeles, San Francisco, Amsterdam and Berlin.



Presenting site-specific installations of contemporary art connected to the Jewish experience, FENTSTER (Yiddish for “window”) is an independent, artist-run exhibition space located in the storefront window of Makom: Creative Downtown Judaism. Makom is a diverse, grassroots, downtown Toronto community fusing Jewish tradition and progressive values. FENTSTER projects are on view 24/7. Visitors are requested to maintain physical distancing precautions at all times.


FENTSTER @ Makom, 402 College Street, Toronto, ON M5T 1S8 | Instagram | Facebook

Presented by:

A Kultura Collective Member

Start Date October 13, 2020

Details to come.

Downtown Toronto

402 College Street
Toronto, Ontario, M5T 1S8




If accessibility options not listed, please contact the venue to confirm


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