For those who don’t already know, Chale Wote is a historic Street art festival which has been happening in Jamestown neighbourhood, Accra, Ghana since 2011. The yearly event has seen thousands of tourists and locals flock to the Ghanaian capital to celebrate film, art, music, fashion, dance, creativity and individuality from across Africa through curated workshops, performances, and exhibitions. Chale Wote has become an exchange between scores of local and international artists and patrons, coming together to appreciate African beauty.
Africa tourism has the second fastest growth-rate in the world, expected to contribute $269 billion to the GDP of the continent and create 29 million new jobs by 2026, making it a perfect time for African festivals like Chale Wote to capture the eyes of the global world, supporting Africa through ghana’s thriving art scene.
The event is produced by Accra [dot] Alt Radio, with support from other local cultural networks, bringing to life a festival that reminds us about the amazing stories being created in our environment. The street festival is more important now than it’s ever been as the global world turns to Africa in awe of our buzzing culture; Chale Wote demystifies what makes us stand apart from other continents, sharing the colors, vibrancy and energy of a culture that’s been stuck in oppression yet still finds a way to shine.
Niyi Okeowo, a Nigerian photographer known for documenting African scenes and creatives, attended the carnival this summer and during his trip he captured the outstanding, outrageous and outlandish.
I loved the creativity and freedom of expression, on the surface, it looks like a normal arts festival, but a lot of the art being presented were political and sending a message, I love how Ghanian youths came out to express themselves in one way or another. – Niyi Okeowo
Niyi found Ghanaian style, creativity and freedom of expression as the most interesting aspect of the show, “Ghanaians have a very interesting style, you could just see the creativity flowing from everyone, from the two guys who championed what I think is a message for acceptance of LGBT, to another group commenting on NHS and what I think is the health system to just your average joe sporting the Ghanian flag on his head. It was like this creative wonderland.”
From colourful body paintings, custom made fashion pieces, dance crews, street boxing, refreshing body accessories, Niyi Okeowo took on Chale Wote with a lot to share.