2014’s edition of the Chale Wote Street Art Festival came off a buzzing start, augmenting the fervour that accompanied the just ended Homowo Festival. The energy and excitement was infectious and even days after the 2-day festival, themed, “Death: An Eternal Journey Into Limitless Rebirth”, people still can’t get over it. The euphoria that accompanied the festival beautifully complemented its theme; the festival flames seemingly going out but instead of just dying down, continue burning, eagerly waiting a rekindling which, rest assured, will happen next year. Jamestown played host Accra’s creative community who brought their own to the tropes of beautiful “madness” to this year’s festival. To keep these superb and awesome participants enthralled, Accra [dot] Alt lined up an ensemble of creatives whose only agenda was to enthral the visiting public, sending them on a trans-dimensional journey of imagined spaces.
Adjo Kisser’s installation portrayed the cycle of gender imbalance and stereotypes in Ghana and the world at large. Drawing inspiration from global events that expose the blatant disregard for the female gender, Untitled (709) artistically brings to the fore, the continuous murder of the female identity. Not forgetting the impossible to miss, elaborate and overwhelming sack installation by Ibrahim Mahama, showing all the different shades and patches of life, beautifully strewn together in majestic stitches.
The High Life Cafe was the happening spot through out the festival, with bands like Okoto Bridza and Leila Adu leaving folks screaming for endless encore. Siaka Diarra was particularly glorious during their set. The Burkinabe band had the tightest sound by a mile during the two days’ doling out beautiful West African funk for festival patrons to dig through everything on sale at the Accra Cookout. Mantse Agbonaa (which means the King’s compound in GA) sheltered the food vendors who served everything from Ghanaian coffee to spicy grilled Tilapia plus a plethora of food pallets from around the world.
The Yoyo tinz station was a meeting ground for Accra’s Hiphop community and it was just beautiful observing some of the city’s finest MCs work the large gathering repeatedly. Between the open mic sessions, live beat boxing and beat making from ace producers Jayso, Beat Menace and Fresh Beats, DJ Keyzzz and DJ Vim Tinz started a scratch session with UBeatz that got the crowd really hyped. This might be due to the fact that those elements of the craft have been missing within the Ghanaian HipHop community for years. Then came the B-Boys who rode the tempo through intricate routines and high energy moves. Togolese graffiti artist Trez Folly added quiet a bit of color to the setup that made the space even cooler. All in all, Yoyotinz’ Gbobalor Hiphop set reinforced the festival’s theme by reincarnating the core elements of hiphop; rap, beat boxing, B-Boying, disc jockeying and graffiti.
Ghanaians love to party and perhaps, even in death. This was primarily the inspiration to Serge Attukwei and GoLokal’s mobile installation Agbo Ni Aye : Enjoyment After Death as they came through with a procession that explored the nature of funerals in Ghana, particularly the manner in which we celebrate the lives of our dearly departed. With an aptly titled act, they whipped up some local delicacies in their performance
Yinka Esi Graves dazzled onlookers as she fluttered gracefully on her wooden stage in her flamenco performance. This is the first time Accra witnessed Flamenco and Kpanlogo fusion performance and it was pretty hypnotic to say the least.
With all the provocative, mind boggling eclectic art present at Chale Wote, shutterbugs from all over had a field day, clicking away on their cameras and capturing some epic memories and making some very important connections.
Central to Chale Wote is a celebration of the arts and the artists at this year’s event made sure to bring Jamestown alive with colour. Jamestown’s High Street was transformed from a historic site to a living palette of paint, creativity and fun!
All activities came to a halt as people moved to Mantse Agbonaa to enjoy the concert that officially thanked everyone for coming out, all the while treating them to some wonderful music and effectively ending Chale Wote 2014 with a resounding bang!