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Chale Wote Street Art FestivalGoing to Jamestown almost always creates mixed feelings for me, for different reasons. First of all, it is supposed to be my hometown, yet I never visit the area or go there to find out what shape my great-grandparents’ house is in. Extending this argument may lead to a very important discussion about what should be defined a one’s ‘hometown’? But that is a discussion we should delve in onto another day. The second reason behind my mixed feeling situation is the explosion behind the major event which has been held there since 2011; Chale Wote 2013.

On Sept 7th and 8th the 3rd annual CHALE WOTE Street Art Festival takes place in James Town . The festival is produced by ACCRA [dot] ALT in association with The Foundation for Contemporary Art – Ghana, the Accra Metropolitan Assembly, Institut Français, Alliance Française, Dr. Monk, No Limits Charity, Absolut Vodka, CitiFM, BloggingGhana and The Attukwei Art Foundation.

I was touched by the previous Chale Wote Festival where Generik Vapeur and his team of blue-faced French masqueraders drummed barrels in a rhythmic fashion of the streets lining the James and Usher Forts. It was a unique and an entertaining version of what I usually see on Tv. So when the Accra dot Alt organisers mentioned this year’s Chale Wote Street Art Festival would go beyond a day….oh boy was I crystallised in happiness. As a member of one of the partnering groups, BloggingGhana, I was also tasked with documenting this historic event on the popular social media platforms. We recounted the happenings of the event on twitter, took photographic accounts and posted them on Google+, Facebook and Instagram. Though I was on duty, my responsibilities never stopped me from consuming and enjoying the exciting bits of this art festival, and that makes the work of a blogger more enjoyable!

Frankly it was just too touch to taste and experience all the many pockets of art and entertainment spots scattered on the Attah-Mills Highway right by the sea. There was al lot attendees could benefit from. From the line-up of local accessories and designs at the bazaar to the lighthouse with an overview of Accra. I liked every bit of it. The part which got me wanting more was, the People I met. After every step, there would someone you knew or who knew you who would offer to catch up on an old conversation or just say hi. For me as always that has been the icing on the Chale Wote Cake considering all the 3 sessions I have attended since 2011.

I also admired the way the organizers made a conscious effort to offer the cross section of attendees something interesting. At the light-house end of the highway was the Children’s village set up to engage the younger IMG_7138generation, there was a beach jam in the evening of the second day to appease the twerk-loving folks. And oh yea, there was an opportunity for individuals with talent to exhibit such gifts in many different ways, from artists to entrepreneurs. Such events were mixed with discussion points, sports, music and dance.

Finally I feel the Art Festival would have been a lot for amazing for many more if we had found a way to control the over-energized kids whose community we had invaded. Some of the got so interested in the event they started engaging some of the visitors in a way a few of them were not too comfortable with. I see this to be a major challenge the Accra dot Alt team would have to go round, especially because they have the same right to be a part of the event as anyone else. I feel the next Chale Wote will reduce some of these Challenges and see Chale Wote rise to become a national Festival if not an International one.

For see more from the Festival, Check our Twitter, Facebook, Instagram and Google+ Pages.
If you were at the event, share with us, let us know what you think.

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If you were on Twitter this past weekend and following tweets from Ghana, my bet is you saw one or two photos, vines, tweets or retweets from Chale Wote 2013. Chale Wote is a street arts festival organized annually in Jamestown, Accra and brings art, music, dance & performance out into the streets & public spaces.

When Edward and I talked about attending Chale Wote 2013, I didn’t know what to expect. Haven missed the last two, I was full of expectations and it didn’t disappointment. I was totally blown away! The art, installations, music, level of detail kept a smile on my face.

Day 1 was fun–packed with all the murals going up on the walls. It was really amazing that from the Old Kings Way to Ga Mashie Development Agency (GAMADA), there was art everywhere; on the walls,on the streets and on the gleeful faces. The installations were fascinating and it was even more refreshing to see the children of Jamestown help with the murals and other activities. Nii Thompson’s art stole the show for me and got me thinking and taken the conversation beyond the two days. By looking at the the pictures below, can you guess what story the artist is trying to tell?

Chale Wote 3


Highlight of day 2 for me was the Talk Party series with Blogging Ghana. In the words of my cousin, “I didn’t just have fun, I got educated.” The panel moderated by Kobina Graham was as real as it can get. The honesty in their submissions and the knowledge shared is worth sharing with others. Mae-Ling Lokko even went ahead to suggest a pocket park which she built had failed and she had taken lessons from it. That is not something we hear often at events.

I cannot forget the street boxing on Day 2. I kept nodding and saying to myself; so, this is how old world champions Azumah Nelson & Ike Quartey started. It really brought out the crowd and the young lads had the thirst to be the street champions.

Not even the rain on Sunday could stop Chale Wote. It actually added to the fun bringing back memories of when we used to play in the rain growing up. That make it a lot more fun for me. I never get to walk in the rain as much as I would like to.

Like all other events, Chale Wote has a lot of room for improvement. ACCRA [dot] ALT, organizers of Chale Wote can look at providing (more) trash bins. Although a company was contracted to clean up, I think having trash bins all over would be a better option.

Just as Seton Nicholas on the Talk Party panel remarked, we shouldn’t be surprised to see people from the sub-region and beyond jump on planes and buses to come see Chale Wote in the coming. I can’t wait for what the organizers got coming next year. Chale Wote is indeed an international festival in the making.

Check out BloggingGhana’s images from the event and see you at Chale Wote 2014.

Art by Julian Nicco-Annan

Art by Julian Nicco-Annan

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