Chale Wote: Ghana street art festival

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Ghana’s Chale Wote street art festival is back and this year’s theme is Spirit Robots.

Now in its sixth year, more than 200 artists will descend on Accra’s James Town. The free festival includes live stunts using skates, bikes and people – yes those brave individuals willingly giving themselves up to be skated over. There’s also fashion, live music, DJ sets and not forgetting – lots of art. Last year saw more than 10,000 visitors.

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Building on 2015’s concept of African Electronics, participants will be creating their own understanding of how life in Ghana and the world should be. For the first time, the festival is to collaborate with six local galleries – the most eye-catching is new outfit Gallery 1957.

The gallery is owned by Lebanese-born British construction entrepreneur Marwan Zakhem. Its name refers to the year Ghana gained independence, of course.

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It opened its doors on March 7 – the day after the Gold Coast became an independent nation. But gimmick aside – Gallery 1957 has bold ambitions to connect relationships between local artists and international institutes.

The gallery’s Chale Wote experience will be an exhibition by Jeremiah Quarshie – Yellow is the Colour of Water – taking inspiration from the yellow ‘Kufour’ gallons used for carrying and storing water throughout Accra. Resembling digital photographs – Quarshie’s hyper-real images are actually paintings.

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Current exhibition on view till 10th August is celebrated artist Zohra Opoku. Of German and Ghanaian descent her work frequently deals with this blending of cultures – western and african. In portraits, Accra-based Opoku photographs herself hidden behind foliage and leaves as a comment on layered identities.

Chale Wote street art festival starts 15 August, culminating in festival 20-21 August, James Town Accra. Jeremiah Quarshie ‘Yellow is the Colour of Water’ solo exhibition at Gallery 1957 runs August 19 August – 22 October 2016.
Credits: Image 1: Kwabena Akuamoah-Boateng Creative Commons, image 2: ACCRA [dot] ALT, Image 3 and 4 copyright of artist Jeremiah Quarshie and Gallery 1957. 
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