THE BUSINESS OF STREET FASHION IN ACCRA

Story by NANA OSEI KWADWO | Photography by SELORM JAY

The recent “rise of African Fashion” within global media is a bit of a dead tune in these parts. In Ghana, style has always been big news. The Internet makes all the difference now. Some fifteen years ago, you wouldn’t see the freshest Ghanaian designs on Instagram or Tumblr because all the fresh styles were on the streets.

The best designs are still on the streets. Street design shops, big and small, stock some of the finest locally made outfits in the city. Every minute someone from Ghana is posting a Look Book online allowing thousands  of people around the world to tap into Ghana’s style portal. Let’s not forget designer labels like Louis Vuitton slipping fashion aesthetics from Ghana onto the runway without acknowledging the origins.

African Victorian

African Victorian

Ghana has a long tradition of customized clothing dating as far back as the pre-colonial era. Several waves of freed slaves from Bahia in Brazil landed on the shores of West Africa in the mid nineteenth centuries, particularly Ghana, Togo, Benin and Nigeria. The ones who came to Accra were given land and GA citizenship by King Tackie Tawiah I in 1836. The Tabom people, as these returnees were later called, arrived with a lot of skills ranging from military tactics, architecture, carpentry, irrigation engineering to tailored clothing. The renowned Morton Family are descendants of the Tabom people. The Mortons were expert merchants and tailors, credited with setting up Scissors House, the first tailoring shop in Accra. Continue reading

Public Space Hijackers: Get Ready to GoLokal

Story by NANA OSEI KWADWO | Photography by MANTSE ARYEEQUAYE & SELORM JAY

Going Local with GoLokal

Going Local with GoLokal

Two years ago when visual artist Attukwei Clottey decided to showcase work in his hometown, La, he knew he had to get an enthusiastic group of young folks to buy into the idea. Attukwei wanted the people of La to understand the power of art and how it could transform their community.

Between art residencies in Austria and Netherlands, Attukwei took action and assembled a gathering of characters under the pseudonym “GoLokal.” He adopted this name because of the indigenous style of this artist crew – visually provoking, eclectic, cool yet vibrant. GoLokal is comprised of ten members in total [6 guys, 4 girls] who are quite passionate about their newfound mission.

Serge Attukwei, The god of GoLokal

Serge Attukwei, the god of GoLokal

Since 2012, GoLokal has gained an ever-expanding audience with major performance at art events across the city. In 2013, the crew arrested the attention of attendees’ at ACCRA [dot] ALT’s CHALE WOTE Street Art Festival, literally, taking over the street with improve performances. They even led a grand parade down High Street with the Flat Land Boys bikers and the 25-member Winneba Masquerade. Last month, we jammed up with GoLokal at the 2nd annual FashionistaGH Shopping Festival at Trade Fair. With collage costumes, bright yellow jerry cans, slick face paint and killer dance moves, GoLokal had crowds snapping smartphone pics all afternoon. Word on the street is the people can’t get enough of the La mobile art shows.

No matter how often we work with Attukwei and the rest of the GoLokal crew, we are consistently fascinated by their fresh performance installations. Last week, I visited Attukwei at his art studio to chat on how GoLokal began, what they’re all about and what the art crew’s got going next. Continue reading

GOING DIGITAL: IS GHANA’S STREET ART OBSOLETE?

Story by NANA OSEI KWADWO | Photography by SELORM JAY

Street Art Ad. in the 70s by Hurst Publishers

Street Art Ad. in the 70s by Hurst Publishers

Art can be found in almost every corner in Accra from neighborhood churches, schools and pubs to street stalls, barber shops and corporate campaigns. Art is serious business. In fact, traditional street art plays an influential part in the advertising history of Ghana. This street art features large boards painted with images of popular individuals such as Asamoah Gyan, President John Dramani Mahama, Barack Obama, Michael Essien and many others or everyday scenes of life in Ghana – Like Male House helps dating their bosses’ wives, and men trying to chat women  – exaggerated to a humorous effect.

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Exclusive Blitz The Ambassador Backstage/Concert photos

Autographs backstage-

Autographs backstage-

Blitz and Manifest hang out backstage after the show.

Blitz and Manifest hang out backstage after the show.

The Embassy  crew tune up before heading out on stage.

The Embassy crew tune up before heading out on stage.

Blitz chilling with Manifest and Mawuli.

Blitz chilling with Manifest and Mawuli.

Always good to have an animated crowd.

Always good to have an animated crowd.

Limited Edition Accra Dot Alt tee-shirts on sale.

Limited Edition Accra Dot Alt tee-shirts on sale.

One half of Hola Blak Pow wah rocks his Accra Dot Alt shirt while posing with his grand daughter.

One half of Hola Blak Pow wah rocks his Accra Dot Alt shirt while posing with his grand daughter.

A.D.A's Mantse prepn Blitz before the show.

A.D.A’s Mantse prepn Blitz before the show.

Hola Blak's Phu Cha with Blitz backstage.

Hola Blak’s Phu Cha with Blitz backstage.

Blitz's 2011 album NATIVE SUN on sale at the concert.

Blitz’s 2011 album NATIVE SUN on sale at the concert.

These love birds look like they having a blast at the concert.

These love birds look like they having a blast at the concert.

The autograph sessions were loooong.

The autograph sessions were loooong.

More autographs.

More autographs.

Chilling backstage after the concert.

Chilling backstage after the concert.

The horns chale-

The horns chale-

BLITZ CONCERT-HORNS MEN2

Magic hands- EMBASSY MVMT drummer Sydney with Percussionist Eric.

Magic hands- EMBASSY MVMT drummer Sydney with Percussionist Eric.

The cheers didn't stop chale.

The cheers didn’t stop chale.

Yaa Pono about to let it all go.

Yaa Pono about to let it all go.

Blitz breaks in with a drum solo.

Blitz breaks in with a drum solo.

Blitz: Final set list check before the concert.

Blitz: Final set list check before the concert.

The drummer gets some.

The drummer gets some.

Thanks for the love chale

Thanks for the love chale

We got a lot of photos from Blitz the Ambassador’s concert last weekend, so we are going to be sharing it with you all. This line up features photos from backstage before and after the concert. There is more coming, enjoy this in the mean time.

photos by Raveheads

STROLLING GOATS IN ACCRA: THE CHALE WOTE EPISODE

If you have been following us, you are probably familiar with Strolling Goats in Accra- Our photography series that focuses on repurposing spaces within Accra. Well we’ve been on a little hiatus due to all the running around associated with producing a festival as big as CHALE WOTE. The good news is that we are all set to go and our international participants will start arriving next week. We thought it would be great to show you our team in this episode shot in James Town where the festival takes place.  Below are quotes about what comes to mind when one thinks about this part of Accra and expectations for this year’s festival. Photos by Mantse Aryeequaye

Jahwi
“Buzzing stinky, better yet e dey be, nice fish. You know, plenty nice kenkey. Chale, buzzing energy.”
“I’m trying to see a bigger, brighter, definitely more dynamic show, and looking forward to all the artists who are coming from out of town and in to town. What am I bringing this year? The rocking energy. Chale, I just hope the future generations are appreciating some of the things that we are putting in place for them. I’m always looking forward to the future. I hope by the time my child is old enough to understand what’s going on, we would have been able to do something that everyone can be proud of.”

Jahwi is a prolific graffiti artist and photographer

Jahwi is a prolific graffiti artist and photographer

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MAD About MAWUSI [Part 2]

Abstract x Ghanaian x Handmade Art Gear

by Sionne Neely | photos by Jane Odartey

JANE ODARTEY in the Yarn Tribal Series Necklace

JANE ODARTEY in the Yarn Tribal Series Necklace

This is Part Two of the interview with JANE ODARTEY, creator of MAWUSI, an eclectic collection of abstract wearable Ghanaian art. Jane is also a photographer, writer and model. Jane talks to ACCRA [dot] ALT about finding bliss thru crafting, building community far from home in Queens NY and how using Ghanaian prints proves to be solid as a rock.

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Learn GA with ANBULEY

by AIGERIM SAPAROVA

ALMIGHTY AWULA : ANBULEY

ALMIGHTY AWULA : ANBULEY

It isn’t often you hear a millennia-old language sprung across a backdrop of cold electronic beats. Lucky for us ANBULEY, the Vienna-born Ghanaian music maker, blends hard electronica with her native Ga language [spoken throughout greater Accra].

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Strolling Goats in Accra: NIMA pt. 3

FIRST STOP - NIMA.

first stop – NIMA.

Nima is one of the coolest areas in Accra – and we have the photos to prove it.

What can we say? The place just makes you feel free. We love the chill vibe of Nima and the vibrant social life of the majority Hausa-speaking population, the fly attitude and bright colors of the women, the distinct burst of flavors in Northern Ghanaian cuisine found at many food spots lining the streets and the spectacular finds in the Nima Market.

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