Chale Wote Street Art Festival: Becoming business-oriented, losing it value

Chale Wote is a Ga word which means asking a friend to come along but it is also used to describe a pair of rubber-made slippers widely worn in Ghana.

The very first time I heard about Chale Wote Street Art Festival, I got interested because I love art be it painting, portrait, mosaic or body art. So I witnessed the second edition of the Chale Wote Street Art Festival in 2012 which was held at Mantse Agboana. It was largely successful, although attendance was a bit low as compared to the latest event.

Participants were greeted with refreshingly beautiful artworks on the streets and on the walls of most colonial buildings at James Town.

The festival was meant to be a platform for talented artists to showcase their creative works for both local and international market.

The number of participants and visitors keeps on soaring annually and has become a major tourist attraction in James Town every year.

The just ended Chale Wote Street Art Festival attracted about 30,000 people. The event is staged annually during the month of August.

This event brings to be bare the beauty of the arts, culture, fashion and music together on the streets of James Town, in Accra.

I was happy to see how a lot of people are patronizing the Festival but also sad to observe that the event is losing its originality.

The business oriented style that characterized this year’s event overshadowed the art part.

It seems the event is gradually turning into a business venture instead of promoting art works and culture to attract foreign investment.

The first edition was full of artworks, you could see lot of arts works on the street and on walls from Mantse Abgonaa to Usher Fort even after the festival has ended.

I would like to urge the organizers to pay attention to the arts in the subsequent edition, while keeping the side businesses on the low.

The festival which is gradually, becoming an international one could promote tourism, arts and culture. James Town particularly could be transformed to boost tourist attraction.

The James Fort Prison was originally built for the British colonialists and later turned into a prison after the abolition of slave trade. Ghana’s first president Osagyefo Dr. Kwame Nkrumah was imprisoned there.

 

This year’s event was touted as the biggest so far, however, the whole event should be repackaged to reflect the purpose of its initiation.

I Love Chale Wote Street Art Festival and  I will always attend to admire the lovely artworks and also to support our local artists.

By Francis Quasie

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