The CHALE WOTE Street Art Festival is an alternative platform that brings art, music, dance and performance out into the streets. The festival targets exchanges between scores of local and international artists and patrons by creating and appreciating art together.
Artists, photographers and street performers from around the world have taken over the streets of Ghana’s capital, Accra for the past years for the annual Chale Wote street art festival in the suburb of James Town.Since 2011, CHALE WOTE has included street painting, graffiti murals, photography, theater, spoken word, interactive art installations, live street performances, extreme sports, film shows, a fashion parade, a music block party, recyclable design workshops and much more.ow in its eighth year, the Chale Wote Street Art Festival in Accra brings thousands of people to Ghana’s capital for around a week of festivities, including film premieres, skate shows, gallery shows (more than 200 artists exhibit work), and music and dance.
For days, the historic Jamestown neighbourhood, which served as the city’s bustling port on the ocean and now is home base to scores of fishermen, is packed with people partying in the bright sun. “Our vision is to cultivate a wider audience for the arts in West Africa by breaking creative boundaries and using art as a viable form to rejuvenate public spaces,“ says the festival’s statement of intent.
It is the first to be organized in Accra, Ghana and has inspired similar events across the country. There have been 6 editions so far; the first two ran for one day each, while the 2013 and 2014 edition ran concurrently for two days, the former in September and the latter in August, a week after the Homowo festival of the Ga people at the historical Jamestown, Ghana on the High Street in Accra. The format switched in 2016 when the festival lasted an entire week, from August 18 – 21. This switch saw the festival hop from the open street gallery that is Jamestown to other art spaces, such as the Nubuke Foundation, the Museum of Science and Technology as well as film screenings at the Movenpick Ambassador Hotel. The same format will be replicated in the 7th edition, themed, Wata Mata with further immersion into Accra, spreading to areas such as Nima, Osu and more. The event is produced by Accra Alt Radio, with support from other local cultural networks like Attukwei Art Foundation, Foundation for Contemporary Art Ghana, Dr. Monk, Redd Kat Pictures and the Institut français in Ghana. So what was the overall vibe at the massive festival? “I think the idea was to steal the show,” And that, surely, is an understatement: kids with neon-green hair and nose rings; with paper clips hanging from their head, or head-to-toe white feathers; or with the simple, showstopping colour-blocking of bright yellow overalls with a kerchief perfectly tied around the neck. “I just wanted to capture style, identity, beauty,” Mission accomplished.
It is, to say the least, an electric affair, made all the more thrilling by the eclectic street style all around, including the many outfits both traditional and non- that honour the region’s great history. Stephen Tayo, a young photographer from Nigeria, has been gracefully documenting West African style for some time, but popped up at Chale Wote for the very first time this year. “There is so much amazing history in Ghana, so I wanted to document and understand more about what’s going on in this country,” he says. “The main thing was to tell an African story in a very genuine way.”
2019 Event Hold between 22nd and 29th August 2019.