CHALE WOTE 2018 DAY 1: THE OTHER SIDE

The Dagara Cultural Group performing at the opening of CHALE WOTE 2018 || Photo credit: Nii Oto

The 8th edition of the CHALE WOTE Street Art Festival, themed “PARA OTHER”, opened on Monday, 20th August 2018 with a medley of captivating performances and a soulful reflective procession through the streets of Jamestown. The Day of ReMembering  marked the opening of the CHALE WOTE Street Arts Festival and the SHIKA SHIKA Art Fair. Here’s a quick recap of the major highlights from the opening day events.

Opening Ceremony of CHALE WOTE 2018 || Photo Credit: Abdul Arafat ©

The day began with a ritual of cleansing to mark the Day of ReMembering, an annual event at the opening of the festival to revisit the history of James Town as a major point of forced departure but also bear witness to the efforts towards regenerating and innovating our historical realities. To jumpstart the procession, the Dagara cultural group hit Brazil House with high electric energy, blazing through with thunderous Dagati jives. The music and dance group company defined the step of the procession as the ACCRA [dot] ALT production team led it.This year’s procession began at the base of operations for the festival, Brazil House and made pit stops at the gates of various Wulomei (Ga traditional priests).

The leader of the procession Samoa Mark-Hansen, pouring libation to mark the Day of ReMembering || Photo credit: Abdul Arafat

The procession performed significant rituals with the help of priests from the Sempe and Otublohum palaces and continued along the John Atta Mills High Street before looping back to Brazil House for the commencement of the SHIKA SHIKA Art Fair.

Marking the Day of ReMembering with a procession. || Photo credit: Abdul Arafat ©

The Dagara Cultural Group performing at the opening of CHALE WOTE 2018 || Photo credit: Abdul Arafat ©

The SHIKA SHIKA Art fair is our inaugural street art fair at CHALE WOTE, featuring historical and contemporary works from artists in Ghana and across the diaspora, from different cultural background and experiences, using unique modes of expression to respond to the festival theme, PARA OTHER. The works comprised a range of mediums, from photography capturing the inner turmoil of the artist to acrylic paintings exploring the expressions of classism in everyday life.

Patrons posing in front of a paint by Kofi Agorsor (Ghana) at the SHIKA SHIKA Art Fair || Photo credit: Abdul Arafat ©

The swills and swing of the music played on as the art fair was opened by Kpakpo Samoa Hansen, logistics co-ordinator at ACCRA [dot] ALT. From 6 pm to 9 pm, art enthusiasts from all over the world trooped into Brazil House, Jamestown to appreciate the full spectrum of work on display at the fair. From the jarring yet deeply layered street art pieces by Kwame “Almighty God” Akoto and the abstract, enthralling cityscapes by Kofi Agoorsor, to the concept driven photography by Hakeem Adam and Josephine Kuuire, the exhibition did well to highlight various forms of expression, all of which in some way or form, responded to the need for new codes and fractals that is PARA OTHER. Karen Lee (USA) softened the mood as the night drew closer with her mellow music. The singer, poet and writer set the tone right with a solemn performance of her song, “Yemeya”.

Karen Lee (Canada) singing at the opening of the SHIKA SHIKA Art Fair || Photo Credit: Abdul Arafat ©

The exhibition at Brazil House, James Town is open throughout the week (August 20-26) and features the work of Ghana-based and international artists on both floors of the building. Exhibiting artists at the SHIKA SHIKA Art Fair include: Torgbui Agorsor, Nyonuwofia Agorsor, Hakeem Adam, Josephine Kuuire, Comforrt Arthur, Isshaq Ismail, April Bey (Barbados/USA), Ofoe Amegavie, Kwame “Almighty God” Akoto and Barbara Siebenlist (Argentina). Interested collectors should email info@accradotaltradio.com

Patrons admiring the work of April Bey (Barbados/USA) at the SHIKA SHIKA Art Fair || Image Credit: Abdul Arafat ©


Day 2 of CHALE WOTE 2018 (Tuesday, August 21) commences the first of the 3-day component of CHALE WOTE called The LABs. The first day will be at the National Theatre (Folkspace) from 12 pm to 7 pm. DOWNLOAD the festival brochure here!

Written by: Fafa MacAuley, Micheal Darku, Nii Noi Adom and Hakeem Adam

Images: Abdul Arafat, Nii Otu

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