Reimagining African folklore by creating exciting and futuristic versions is the theme for CHALE WOTE Street Art Festival 2013. Everything points to a classic show this time around. The festival has over the last few years challenged the music and art space in Accra in a super-funky urban way.
For the first two years, the festival was organized as a whole day’s event. It is a major attraction for tourists, art lovers, musicians, graffiti + mural artists, poets, and musicians – and basically anyone who appreciates or has a curious mind for art made in Accra. This year the free festival will be running for two (2) days at its signature venue, James Town, on September 7th and 8th, 10am – 9pm.
CHALE WOTE makes use of various locations on High Street in Accra – for fashion shows, performance exhibitions, art installations, extreme sports, and film screenings. From the Old Kings Way Building hosting a lounge and bar, DJ sets and live theater to the SeaView Hotel, built in the early 1900s, where you’ll also see a photo exhibition of James Town by French photographer Denis Dailleux. The exhibition will stretch onto the James Town beach for the two-day period.
The Accra Cookout at the forecourt of the James Town Mantse [King] palace is another place you need to check out during the festival. Festivalgoers will get a taste of homemade meals to international cuisine while jamming to soulful tunes from The Highlife Cafe. The Vegan All-Stars are cooking up alternative food options for visitors who can’t get enough of their greens. While you are in Accra proper, be sure try out the kenkey [fermented corn meal] and spicy fish with shitto. James Town stocks the best in the city, you know the one that will give you the sniffles. Sniff sniff goodness.
Artists to Look Out For at CHALE WOTE 2013
Serge Attukwei Clottey [AfroGallonism] –
“We have one installation ready for the Ussher Fort location which is a collection of 56 yellow gallons to construct the image of Kwame Nkrumah together with a performance by GoLokal. The other project is Coast-to-Coast Fashion. It’s about how the GA people were influenced by the Dutch and the British. I’m yet to decide if this will be a print or image projection.”
Attukwei is an Installation artist and a one-time male model; he’s had exhibitions in Ghana and across Europe. You can call him the “AfroGallonist” with his out-there flip mode technique with jerry cans. He has exhibited his works at CHALE WOTE since its inception. Expect to see two major works from Attukwei and his GoLokal crew, AfroGallonism and Coast-to-Coast Fashion.
Elisabeth Sutherland [The Accra Theatre WorkShop] –
“I’m doing a show or an excerpt from a show that is based on the Ananse folktale but I’m doing it with puppets that are made mostly from recycled materials, like pure water sachets. We’re cutting them up and assembling things. This is definitely not the usual stuff you see in theater – I generally like darker folktales – so this is a spin on the Ananse myth. It’s not really the Ananse that you know and love necessarily. I took three folktales and combined them into one to produce a character… it’s going to be visually stunning.”
Yes, folks. This theater performance artist is related to the legendary Ghanaian writer, Efua T. Sutherland. Ms. Sutherland has been working with school children in her 6-week “Summer Shakespeare” acting and playwriting program over the last few years. Unlike Attukwei, this will be Elisabeth’s debut at CHALE WOTE Street Art Festival. She recently relocated to Ghana and is collaborating with James Town theater troupe, Act for Change, on an improv theater workshop for kids at the festival.
Nima Muhinmanchi Art [Mixed media muralists] –
“We will transform the Old Kings Way Building, inside and outside with quality murals that will last for so many years.”
Yussif Larry Aminu and Musah Swallah are the lead organizers behind NMA [Nima Muhinmanchi Art] born in Nima, a mostly-Muslim suburb of Accra. NMA is a network of painters who have transformed their community with captivating murals. For CHALE WOTE, nine NMA artists will be working with German graffiti artist, David Bethmann, to create a mixed media mural throughout the old Kings Way building.
CHALE WOTE Street Art Festival 2013 is produced by ACCRA [dot] ALT in partnership with Institut Français, Alliance Française, Dr. Monk, Foundation for Contemporary Art Ghana, REDD KAT Pictures, No Limit Charity, Attukwei Art Foundation and in association with the A.M.A, CITI 97.3 FM, Acrilex and Absolut Vodka.