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Art Therapy for the City: Chale Wote Brings Street Art to James Town



Promising to be Accra’s largest free urban festival, the first-annual CHALE WOTE Street Art Festival is preparing to take over James Town by welcoming over 250 artists from different disciplines for a music and art showdown in the city center on July 16.

The festival is hosted by ACCRA [dot] ALT, The French Embassy and Institut Francais. ACCRA [dot] ALT is a multimedia platform that encourages the exploration and experimentation of art–photography, film, performance, music, writing and design–by recognizing Ghanaian artists, domestically and internationally, who take bold leaps in their work. The coordinators of ACCRA [dot] ALT are independent filmmaker, Mantse Aryeequaye and Dr. Sionne Neely, a researcher and writer. The festival organizers are looking to firmly establish CHALE WOTE as the main event for street art in Ghana with ongoing, widespread international participation. The one-day event has activities scheduled from the Lighthouse in James Town to the old Kings Way Building close to High Street. Some of the city’s biggest names in street art culture will set up alongside James Town’s homegrown talents.

CHALE WOTE organizer, Dr. Neely, explains why this will become such an integral part of the Ghanaian art scene:.“Accra [James Town] can easily be  established as the home of street art in Ghana;  the whole city has enormous potential that could transform the social and economic status of city dwellers.” She continues, “Accra [dot] ALT is  proud to be a part of this  and will continue to provide a platform for  artists to break onto the Ghanaian urban art scene. The fact that it’s free just makes it even more exciting.”


The CHALE WOTE Street Art Festival will feature projects from Elhalakasa Poetry Slum (spoken word), The Foundation for Contemporary Arts (painting),  The WEB (The Funky Fishnet psychedelic fashion show), and bikers/rollerskaters/skateboarders from across the city (stuntin party).  Upon arrival, visitors will enjoy art that plays with the delicate balance between reality and parody in experimental theater, music and art installations by I.U.B. and Serge Attukwei Clottey. T-Shirt construction and trash sculpture workshops will be offered for children from schools within James Town.

Accra [dot] ALT is  developing a series of programs that purposefully take art outside of the city’s defined parameters. The CHALE WOTE Street Art Festival will unleash artists, designers, musicians, educators, filmmakers, and photographers across the city to explore the struggle for space in a city that is still defining itself.

The festival’s primary sponsors are The French Embassy and Institut Francais. Other partnering institutions include the Ga Mashie Development Agency, JustGhana, The Foundation for Contemporary Artistes, Attukwei Art Foundation, Pidgin Music, Redd Kat Pictures, The WEB, and DUST Magazine. The festival is set for Saturday, July 16th, 10am to 10pm, with live music performances by Trigmatic, Yaa Pono, Mutombo, Artistes from Skillions Records, E.L., C-Real, Scizo, Delasi, and many more.