Walking Holding: Portrait Series

What happens when we open our hands to each other in public? Sixty-four people did just that as part of Rosana Cade’s intimate performance series Walking:Holding. Local photographer Kirk Lisaj captured portraits of the participant pairings, in moments of softness and vulnerability. This photographic series invites you to experience your city from someone else’s perspective and consider how our identities can affect our experience of different spaces.

The poignant, experiential performance Walking:Holding was presented on May 25 and 26, 2024 for the opening weekend of The Bentway’s Softer City season. It is a unique experience that invites individual audience members to embark on a guided walk through the neighbourhood, where they encounter and hold hands with seven different people along the route. What transpires is a series of unscripted conversations, which open each person up to a new social connection.  

As a companion to the performance, The Bentway commissioned a series of photographic portraits of select performers of Walking:Holding, installed in June 2024 to coincide with the celebrations and actions taking place during Pride Month. Created as a collaboration between Glasgow-based artist Rosana Cade and local photographer Kirk Lisaj, these portraits seek to restage the performance for visitors to The Bentway, inviting further explorations of softness, visibility, and connection in public space. 

With roots in queer activism, Walking:Holding invites you to experience your city from someone else’s perspective, illuminating how our identity can affect our experience of different spaces. It is a gentle invitation between strangers, provoking the question: what happens when we open our hands to each other in public? 

What to expect: 

  • The installation offers a series of eight photography portraits, displayed on the under-Gardiner columns near the parking lot at Fort York National Historic Site.  
  • All-gender and accessible washrooms available Wednesday-Friday from 1pm-8:30pm and Saturday-Sunday from 11am-8:30pm. The washrooms will be closed on Mondays and Tuesdays, with the exception of holidays.
  • Benches are nearby for those that require seating accommodations.


project team

Local Lead Artist: Aria Evans

Wellness Consultant: Victoria Mata


Performance Presented by The Bentway, in partnership with Buddies in Bad Times Theatre 

Photography installation commissioned by The Bentway, with special thanks to Fort York National Historic Site and the KM Hunter Foundation.

  • Government of Canada
  • Ontario Cultural Attractions Fund
  • Dream Community Foundation
  • Partners in Art