Launch of the 2022 Chale Wote Street Art Festival

ByJames I. Robertson

Aug 17, 2022
Chale Wote Street Art Festival


The Chale Wote Street Art Festival 2022 kicked off on Monday with a meditative procession through the streets of Jamestown, a suburb of Accra.

A traditional priestess with her acolytes, draped in all white linen and adorned with sprigs of purifying green leaves, led the pouring of the libation to begin what was clearly a spiritual enterprise.

Prior to the procession, a drumming and dancing ensemble from the Cultural Center, in their traditional “Fugu” attire, kept the ancestral memories of Ga Mashie residents alive with ecstatic dance moves.

The procession, among other things, highlighted the complex history of Jamestown and its central importance to the creation and development of Accra and the Diaspora.

On a day like this, the story is remembered of the slaves who had walked through the lanes of Jamestown to the ships on the shores.

So the long ceremonial procession, which included two-time Grammy nominee Rocky Dawuni and other members of the Diaspora, moved to Ussher Fort – the ancestral home of the Ga Mashie people – where some invocations and the pouring of the libation was made.

Chale Wote Street Art Festival is an alternative platform that brings art, music, design, dance and performance to the streets.

The Community Festival is an annual event that takes place in James Town, one of Accra’s most historic communities, and targets exchanges between Ghanaian and international artists who create and enjoy art together.

Mantes Aryeequaye, Festival Director, Chale Wote Street Art Festival, said that this year organizers are exploring oral tradition and literature as an art form under the theme: “Stargate of Africa”.

He said the annual festival positions African oral history to open up opportunities and ideas for the development of the African continent.

During his 12th cycle and 11th year, he said Chale Wote’s prospects were huge as he brought thousands to the streets of Accra and Ghana, translating into direct jobs for the people through sales and exposure.

“The festival has been transformative for the more than ten thousand businesses that have benefited from festival activities during the period. So in essence it has been transformative for the city of Accra and for Ghana. It was transformative for the artists who were involved.

Some artists were spotted working on imaginative paintings ahead of the art exhibition and festival.

For Mr. Nicholas T. Wayo, an artist, what inspires his artwork is life, and that he has learned a lot from life because with each passing day comes new challenges and experiences.

“I realize that most of the time, especially here in Africa, we judge by looks, and I want to get that message out to people so they don’t look like our looks,” he said. in an interview with the Ghana News Agency, as he explained. a work of art with three masked women.

Nico Wayo, as his fellow artists call him, said that physical appearances are not enough to judge an individual, saying that “when you look at the three beautiful women with the mask, you see the beauty”. I don’t look at beauty from the outside, I look at the beauty from the inside because the outer beauty eventually fades with age but the inner beauty remains forever, that’s the spirit.

Asked what motivates him in his art, he replied, “As long as I live, I always want to do my best to use my brush and my paint to touch lives, to encourage, to motivate. I started painting in 1995 and till date I still paint and want to keep painting till my last breath.

“Art is life and life is art, nothing is done without art, everything is part of it, communication is art…” he underlined.

Nana Yaw Ananse, also an artist, said the theme of the artwork was “Poor, Pure, Power to the Future” pointing to a Chale Wote 2022 Stargate of Africa themed painting.

“Chale Wote this year is going to be massive and it’s just about art. The feedback is positive,” he said.

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