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“Chale Wote Street Art Festival has exceeded my initial perceptions”- Mantse Aryeequaye

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In the vibrant tapestry of Ghanaian culture, the Chale Wote Street Art Festival stands as a vivid celebration of creativity, community, and self-expression.

Mantse Aryeequaye, founder and director of the popular street festival has reflected on the festival’s transformative journey emphasizing on how its has evolved from its humble beginnings into an internationally renowned event that fuses visual arts, music and performance in the heart of Accra.

According to him, the festival has surpassed his initial expectation, transcending from a local gathering to a global platform for artistic exchange. Mantse noted that, the street festival has become an influential platform not just in the country but within the continent as well, adding that some countries reach out and share how the festival has been an inspiration to them and the fact that they would like to do something like that.

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In an exclusive interview with Caleb Nii Boye on Showbiz 927, the founder of the festival explained that, “We didn’t start out looking for validation from these outlets (media houses); internationally, locally or anyone to endorse it. We were bent on making art. It has outgrown how I perceived it and what the initial idea was. It organically transformed into this really powerful cultural device that is influencing not just cultural activities within this country but also on the continent,”
He continue, “There are quite a number of replicas around the continent; some who will reach out to us and others who will directly write to us that they are inspired by what we do and would want to do it in their countries.”

Mantse to a gretaer extent revealed out how some people who were against what the festival is about have changed their mentality and how others haven’t. According to him, people have become interested in the craft and hence are researching it. He also opined that some famous artists have emerged from the platform.

He said, “There was a lot of unnecessary hostility. I have screenshots and recordings of people’s comments from 2014/15 and all of these people have done some sort of about-turn while others haven’t. We cannot live in a country where people are willfully ignorant about things when we could just reach out and find out about what’s going on. It’s culture. It’s the most powerful tool that you can generate for itself and we’ve seen the effect of that,” he said in reference to the early days of Chalewote.”

“The festival is created around cultural animation not just in Ghana but in Africa. People are coming to see what we are doing here. People are researching what we are doing. The artists that we are working with are getting opportunities. Some of the biggest artists are coming from there so that’s an indication that whatever we are activating and animating is potent and effective; it’s creating other success stories,” the director added.

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