Every year in August, the Chale Wote Street Art Festival brings the Greater Accra Region’s Ga settlements and James Town’s historic neighbourhood to life with a wide variety of enthralling graffiti and dazzling performances that make the event an amazing experience for everyone.
Leading Ghanaian and international artists have been exhibiting outdoor murals inspired by Salvador Bahia’s 1835 rebellion of enslaved Afro-Brazilians and their triumphant return to modern-day Ghana, Togo, and Nigeria.
Formerly, James Town, a predominantly fishing and Accra’s oldest community, Mantse Agbonaa, hosted the Chale Wote Arts Festival.
However, the new venue, Black Star Square in Osu, is one of the oldest neighbourhoods in Accra, dating back to the early 19th century, and has become an important part of the city’s commercial and cultural landscape.
The Osu Castle, built by the Danes in the 17th century, is one of the most iconic buildings in the community.
The festival which commenced on August 21, is expected to come to a blissful end on August 27.
The festival commenced with a procession through the principal streets of the suburb by the chiefs, indigenes, and participants of the land to commemorate the migration and slavery story of the land.
The Black Star Square, its adjoining streets, and the Osu community have been adorned with Africa’s most innovative contemporary works of art.
In order to develop inspiring encounters and savor the art, this festival establishes an amazing platform that unites Ghana-based and international artists.
The event features an eclectic blend of breathtaking visuals, energetic music, compelling performances, and interactive installations.
This festival has always served as an incredible opportunity to witness the fusion of diverse cultures expressed through the universal language of art.
According to the organizers of this festival, this year’s Chale Wote Street Art Festival “is a celebration of over a decade of some of the most iconic public art interventions by African artists as well as co-creations with collaborators from across the world.”
Chale Wote literally translates to ‘Friend let’s go’ in Ga, the language of indigenes of Accra, but has come to stand for flip-flops.
The festival, among others, cultivates a wider audience for the arts in West Africa by breaking creative boundaries and using art as a venture.
The organizers say, “All programming throughout the festival week is staged within the Osu municipality.”
“Chale Wote Street Art Festival will have no activities in James Town,” they emphasized in a statement to the media.
Activities that characterize the celebration
- A musical theatre piece called “MEMORY MOVEMENT FREEDOM” will be performed by multiple communities, dance troupes, and brass bands.
- Ghanaian art collective AFUABE creates live murals detailing the former Gold Coast’s long history of resistance against colonial invasions.
- Other showcases will include performance art, graffiti, four music stages with 120 musicians and bands, LABS, Salons, design, photography, processions, street theatre, and the SHIKA SHIKA Art Fair that will host independent artists at the Christianborg Castle.
- The castle gardens also hosted the Chale Wote Film LABS and knowledge-sharing salons from August 22 to August 24.
- Salons will offer hands-on digital art and photography training sessions for visiting creators and the general public.
- Screening at the Film LABS are 17 films from Ghana, the Caribbean, Europe, and Africa.
- Walking tours to visit historical sites and buildings with fascinating stories within the Osu community.
- The world-famous Highlife Café opens at the Black Star Square for the first time alongside the Accra Cookout, serving the city’s favourite dishes and obscure delicacies.
The Black Star Square and Christianborg Castle have been a sight to behold for Africa’s most iconic celebration of art, hosting the industry’s biggest acts for an unforgettable multi-disciplinary art experience.
African audiences are now connected to new perspectives of authentic creators who are developing spaces dedicated to independent art production through the festival year after year.
This year’s Chale Wote Street Art Festival is supported by the Ministry of Tourism, Arts & Culture, Ghana Tourism Authority, Member of Parliament for Korle Klottey Dr Zenator Agyeman Rawlings, Accra [Dot] Alt, Citi FM/TV, Institute Francais, Korley Klottey Municipal Assembly, Ghana Museums & Monuments Board and Lododo Art.