Chale Wote 2018

Chale Wote is a street art festival that takes place in Jamestown, Accra every year. Since we first came to Ghana ten years ago, it has been our pleasure to watch Ghana's art scene develop and grow. Chale Wote has been a very relevant platform to promote Ghana's arts and culture, and a major promoter of West African creative expression to the world. The festival has also brought exciting artists to Ghana from all over the world, fostering the type of experimental exchange Osei-Duro loves.

This year accusations were made of physical domestic abuse by one of the founders towards another founder. The information was disclosed by an anonymous source, not the survivor, who hadn't wanted the information known. The survivor has since left the country and the project. In our view the way this matter was disclosed was inappropriate, but other women have since come forward with similar stories to tell about him. How it has been dealt with by the community at large has been a learning opportunity for all involved.

Osei-Duro has a deep commitment to anti-violence and to women's rights. We are not authorities on the subject, but we have survived abusive relationships ourselves, and we know how complicated it can be to speak on such matters. It can be difficult to protect oneself without also protecting an abuser. We are heartened by current affairs worldwide in which abusers are being held responsible for their actions, although there is a very long road ahead in righting such injustices. Given all of the above, we have been conflicted on whether to promote Chale Wote on our website and social. Should an event that has done so much for Ghana be boycotted because abuse is found within its administration? There has been much talk in Accra of the fish rotting from the head, if we can get proverbial about it. After much thought and discussion, we have decided that staying silent would give the abuser more power than disclosing the information and hopefully expanding the always complicated conversation around abuse and power. We hope that by publishing these photos we can encourage everyone to think critically and carefully about how best to deal with the conflict between a successful creative event and an inexcusable behavior by one of its founders. As always, we welcome your thoughts.

All photography by Sam Plouff.