The Chale Wote Street Festival

Aderonke Ajibade
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The Chale Wote Street Art Festival  also known as Chale Wote is an alternative platform which is celebrated annually and brings art, music, dance and performance out into the streets of Ghana.  CHALE WOTE means “Man, let’s go!” or is a reference to slippers worn on the feet. The festival targets exchanges between scores of local and international artists and patrons by creating and appreciating art together. The community-based festival takes place in Jamestown – one of Accra’s most historic communities.

Over the last eight years, Chale Wote festival has transformed the city of Accra into the most active cultural hub in West Africa. The first festival took place in July 2011, following a series of discussions about creating DIY [do-­it‑yourself] community projects by participants at our Talk Party Series. Our partners for the festival include Dr. Monk, AfroGallonism, and the Millennium Cities Initiative – AMA Project Management Unit. It is the first to be organized in Accra, Ghana and has inspired similar events across the country.

There have been 8 editions so far; the first two ran for one day each, while the 2013 and 2014 edition ran concurrently for two days, the former in September and the latter in August, a week after the Homowo festival of the Ga people at the historical Jamestown, Ghana on the High Street in Accra. The format switched in 2016 when the festival lasted an entire week, from August 18 – 21. This switch saw the festival hop from the open street gallery that is Jamestown to other art spaces, such as the Nubuke Foundation, the Museum of Science and Technology as well as film screenings at the Movenpick Ambassador Hotel. More than 200 Ghana-based and international artists take part in the event every year.

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The festival re-imagines African folktales through a variety of art forms – graffiti murals, large photography displays, interactive art installations, live street performances, extreme sports stunting, an African film festival, a fashion parade, a DJ jam block party, beach music concert, fashion and food marketplace,  and much more. The event is produced by Accra [dot] Alt Radio,with support from other local cultural networks like Attukwei Art Foundation, Foundation for Contemporary Art Ghana, Dr. Monk, Redd Kat Pictures and the Institut français in Ghana.The festival is completely “Do-It-Yourself” with the talented energies of many people needed to make it happen


Our vision is to cultivate a wider audience for the arts in West Africa by breaking creative boundaries and using art as a viable form to rejuvenate public spaces. The CHALE WOTE Street Art Festival challenges both artists and community-­based audiences to connect through art.

To promote the exhibition of alternative art in Ghana and to nurture an appreciation for different kinds of art among Ghanaians. CHALE WOTE mobilizes an excitement for public, alternative art, especially among young Ghanaians. In the spirit of camaraderie, creativity and fun, CHALE WOTE is an accessible term used by Ghanaians regardless of language.


The festival includes street painting, graffiti murals, photo exhibitions, interactive installations, a food and fashion marketplace, live street performances, extreme sports, African film shows, street boxing, a fashion parade, a music block party, recyclable design workshops and much more.

The 2018 Chale Wote Festival

The 2018 Chale Wote street art festival went down in Accra between August 20-26 in a colourful and memorable event.  This year’s festival was themed, “Para-Other.” Artists, photographers and street performers from around the world descended on the suburb of Jamestown and transformed it into a street art museum.

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The theme ‘Para-Other’ represents an evolution beyond the dialectic of belonging and non-belonging. It is a rejection of citizenship that has no place for the advancement of radical imagination, new perspectives of the self and human agency. Para-Other is a transatlantic shortwave that transcends language and geography but is also represented in relationship to unique locals.  It is a philosophy born out of historically determined necessity to flourish beyond a world of alienation and crisis we currently experience as reality. Para-Other requires new knowledge fractals, codes, symbols, and sounds that transmit our core creative intent where imperial languages fail us. This order is an embracing of a black labyrinth and establishment of an aesthetic that captures our cessation of flight and transit into a non-contested existence.

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