I Don’t Get it

/ Opening @ 7:30 pm

Free to the public

The final stop on a three-part exhibition tour, I Don’t Get It is a new body of work by Aleesa Cohene. The work pushes at the limits of what is legible within the homogeneity of contemporary white Hollywood cinema. The exhibition grows out of a co-commission and media arts residency that involved a group workshop that sought to effect a collaborative inquiry into racial subject matter, constructions of identity, and the role of the producer as interpreter, narrator and intermediary of images. The resulting project takes a persistent view and review of whiteness in Hollywood.

Using her established manner of working with existing movie footage as an opportunity to incite critical self-reflection in the viewer, Cohene’s project offers rhetorical politics as a contribution to what is happening around her. In service of a targeted dialogue about white supremacy, Cohene points to all white bodies, including herself as she asks: How do I make room for other systems of representation to come into being? What is our personal role in maintaining a status quo that may be inherently racist?

I Don’t Get It is co-commissioned by Gallery 44, The Rooms and Western Front. The exhibition is co-curated by Noa Bronstein, Allison Collins and Mireille Eagan. Assistance in the making of this project has been provided by Leon Cheo, Andrew Primavera, Rocky Pajarito, Bita Joudaki, Josephine Lee, Megan Low, Vlad Lunin, Alvin Luong, Nathan Marsh, Dainesha Nugent-Palache, Emiliano Sepulveda, Veesha Sonachansingh, Tommy Ting, Phillip Vernon, Rachelle Walker, Blake Worthey, Winnie Wu, Nicholas Yu and Shellie Zhang.

Publication Launch

June 26 @ 6pm
In the Gallery

Accompanying the exhibition I Don’t Get it will be the launch of the Cohene’s first monograph, featuring writing by Matthew Hyland, Jamillah James, Hannah Black, and Eric Cazdyn.

Aleesa Cohene’s work with video, sculpture, and scent reconfigures and reframes cinematic material to investigate the clichés, codes, and stereotypes that make up dominant cultural narratives. Her work has been exhibited in festivals and galleries internationally, with recent solo exhibitions at Gallery 44 Centre for Contemporary Photography (Toronto), Gallery Suvi Lehtinen (Berlin), Glasmoog Gallery (Cologne), and Reykjavik Photography Museum. She holds a Masters of Visual Studies from the University of Toronto and completed a fellowship at the Kunsthochschule für Medien (Cologne) under German experimental filmmaker Matthias Müller. She has participated in artist residencies in Canada, Denmark, and the Netherlands, and has won grants and prizes in Canada and Europe. Her work is part of the permanent collection of Oakville Galleries and numerous private collections.


Esse Review, Aleesa Cohene