CHALE WOTE STREET ART FESTIVAL
I have always seen fantastic pictures on social media all these years of the Chale Wote street art festival, that I was happy to attend this year and witness all types of great artistic impressions used as a platform to rejuvenate public spaces. Such as street paintings, graffiti murals, spoken word, art installations, live street performances, fashion, parades, extreme sports. Art music, dance and stage performance on the streets of Accra. Fashion, arts, crafts and food vendors. From starting off as a one-day event in 2011 to now running for 7 days. Scheduled events during the week at different locations showcasing art, films, drama and performances.
Chale is a slogan you hear a lot in Accra which is a Ga term meaning friend/buddy and wote means ‘lets go’ Chalewote is also the word used for flip-flops.
This year’s theme – Para-Other means representing our evolution beyond the dialectic of belonging and non-belonging (accradotalradio.com)
The festival took place on Atta Mills High Street and surrounding roads and buldings. As soon as I entered the high street I could feel the energy and not too long was amongst the midst of the gatherers. My first stop was chanting-on some children that were surfing on a small but artistic decorated board.
I sat down in front of an installation board and started posing – people started gathering taking my picture as if I was part of the art – event one guy was directing me so he could get a good angle – lol.
Lots of beautiful bright creations of apparel that I just wanted to glance through, but from the persistent of a street vendor I gave in and tried a few items. I had to force myself to remember my budget and took the designers number and base instead for future reference.
There was music from all directions – chilled out when I heard some old time reggae hits blasting out the stacked up speaker boxes. I didn’t know whether to look left or right as there was something to view on every corner – so taking your time and strolling is a must.
The sun was beaming and there was drinks galore to quench your thirst. It was good to see stalls selling natural and local juices.
Met a French and American guy at the same time – he was carrying a flag and I was attracted by his t-shirt slogan, ‘Protect black queens by any means’.
I was surprised to see quite a few table football games – childhood memories.
I stopped by at Abena (https://www.instagram.com/misbeeewrites/) stall – she was selling custom made jewellery and lensless shades – so couldn’t resit in putting on the biggest and brightest pair.
I have seen people on stilts, but these 3 men were on the highest stilts I have ever seen – I applaud them for their balancing act and walking through the crowd, as the streets of Ghana are not exactly smooth.
After walking up and down, side streets and compounds, bopping to music at every pitstop – I left the crowded streets about 9:30pm. – people were still attending – as no time schedule of finishing. So glad I wore flat shoes – although the foot bottom was mash up – it was worth it.
It very hard to put into words – you have to be part of the hype to enjoy and appreciate the experience of Chale Wote Street Art Festival. Even the president of Ghana made a quick entrance.
bless Sister E