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“Chale Wote” Festival – A Retrospective View

“Chale Wote” meaning “Man let’s go!” was already a household name in Ghana, which refers to bathroom sandals that is commonly used for casual functions.

However, the name now refers to something else than, a bathroom sandals, as it represents the biggest arts festival in Ghana, which is gradually gaining global recognition.

It includes, street painting, graffiti murals, photography, theatre, spoken word, interactive art installations, live street performances, extreme sports, film shows, a fashion parade, a music block party, recyclable design workshops and much more.

It has over the year’s brought together, arts, music, dance and performance onto the streets and targets exchanges between scores of local and international artists and patrons by creating and appreciating art, at Jamestown, in Accra, by turning the ancient town into one of the most active cultural hubs in Ghana since 2011.

The eighth edition of this year’s festival, opened on Monday, 20th August, themed “Para Other” which means “to change what their ancestors couldn’t change” and linking all blacks around the earth to create their own world.

The festival began with a ritual of cleansing, to mark the day of remembrance, an annual event with captivating performances from artistes, street performers and photographers across the world through the streets of Jamestown.

This year’s edition also saw some unique works of from both Ghana and international based artists, who turned the street of Jamestown into an art museum to the delight and admiration of patrons.

The arts, portrays a unique history and tradition of the people of Ghana and the continent as well. It was an indeed a moment rekindling the history, culture and tradition of the people.

There were amazing performances like the” SHIKA SHIKA” Art Fair, which is an inaugural street art fair, which features historical and contemporary works from artists in Ghana and beyond from different cultural background and using their unique modes of expression to respond to the theme of the festival.

Though the festival is mostly celebrated to bring togetherness through art and culture, it has it unique ways of educating the public on various issues like sanitation, health, respect for tradition and elders.

It is obvious that, the festival by nature would come with some weird attires by artists and patrons, as some were in costumes made from polythene bags to highlight the importance of recycling plastic waste, whiles others dressed in outfit made of condoms as a means of advising the youth to protect themselves and an art of painting by creating awareness of a disease called vitiligo, which changes the colour of some parts of the skin.

Fire play, old school dress code, body painting and wall arts were not left out of the festival. This attracted people from far and near to experience the festival including influential personalities like the president, Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo.

The festival for its uniqueness was embraced by all, though the youth were dominant and has indeed served as a rallying point of entertainment, education and opportunity to appreciate the rich history of Ghana and the continent.

Source: GNA

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