Black Star Square to host 13th Chale Wote Street Art festival
The Black Star Square, its adjoining streets, and the Osu community, will witness a new wave of artists creating some of the most innovative contemporary works of art in Africa.
This, 2023 cycle of Chale Wote Street Art Festival, organisers say, “is a celebration of over a decade of offering some of the most iconic public art interventions by African artists, as well as co-creations with collaborators from across the world.”
Chale Wote literally translates to ‘Friend let’s go’ in Ga, the language of indigenes of Accra, but has come to stand for flip-flops.
The festival, among others, cultivates a wider audience for the arts in West Africa by breaking creative boundaries and using art as a venture.
The organisers say, “All programming throughout the festival week will be held within the Osu municipality.”
“Chale Wote Street Art Festival will have no activities in James Town,” they emphasised in a statement to the media.
James Town, a predominantly fishing community and Accra’s oldest community, Mantse Agbonaa, has hosted what is axiomatically the biggest arts festival in West Africa as it brings together an alluring mix of artists, and musicians, designers and exhibitors.
The festival is highly anticipated for its surreal art, music, dance and performances on the streets of Jamestown, Accra’s old quarters.
However, the new venue, Osu, is one of the oldest neighbourhoods in Accra, dating back to the early 19th century and has become an important part of the city’s commercial and cultural landscape.
The history of Osu can be traced to the late 18th century, when a group of Ga fishermen settled in the area.
The Osu Castle, built by the Danish in the 17th century, is one of the most iconic buildings in the community.
The new festival perimeter, at its new venue – the Black Star Square in Osu – will feature open air mural exhibitions by leading Ghanaian and international artists, showcasing work inspired by the rebellion of enslaved Afro-Brazilians in 1835 Salvador Bahia and their glorious return to present day Ghana, Togo and Nigeria.
The story is also performed as a musical theatre piece called “MEMORY MOVEMENT FREEDOM” by multiple community-based performance, dance troupes and brass band.
For their participation this year, Ghanaian art collective AFUABE will create live murals detailing the former Gold Coast’s long history of resistance against colonial invasions.
Other showcases will include performance art, graffiti, 4 music stages with 120 musicians and bands, LABS, Salons, design, photography, processions, street theater and the SHIKA SHIKA Art Fair that will host independent artists at the Christianborg Castle.
The art fair supports and showcases dynamic presentations and works from intergenerational artists working outside of gallery spaces.
The castle gardens will also host the Chale Wote Film LABS and knowledge sharing salons from 22nd August to 24th August.
The salons will offer hands-on digital art and photography training sessions for visiting creators and the general public. Screening at the Film LABS are 17 films from Ghana, the Caribbean, Europe and Africa.
Visitors can also book walking tours to visit historical sites and buildings with fascinating stories within the Osu community.
The world-famous Highlife Café opens at the Black Star Square for the first time alongside the Accra Cookout, serving the city’s favourite dishes and obscure delicacies.
The Black Star Square and Christianborg Castle will be a sight to behold for the most iconic celebration of art in Africa, hosting the industry’s biggest acts for an unforgettable multi-disciplinary art experience.
Since its inception in 2011, Chale Wote has developed an unrivalled reputation for consistently featuring hundreds of performances, exhibitions across stages, throughout the festival grounds.
African audiences are now connected to new perspectives of authentic creators who are developing spaces dedicated to independent art production through the festival year after year.
This year’s Chale Wote Street Art festival is supported by the Ministry of Tourism, Arts & Culture, Ghana Tourism Authority, Member of Parliament for Korle Klottey Dr. Zenator Agyeman Rawlings, Accra [Dot] Alt, Citi FM/TV, Institute Francais, Korley Klottey Municipal Assembly, Ghana Museums & Monuments Board +Lododo Art