Words by Akley Olton
Fidel by Shake Keane gives me goose bumps, it is an example of premium Caribbean expression. I worked in a film with Frances Ann Solomon and I was introduced into a Nostalgic distant memory of the Golden generation of Caribbean poets and writers and musician, when BBC had a show called Caribbean Voices. I always wondered where Vincy was in all of that and recently I found Shake Keane and Linton Kwesi Johnson documentaries on YouTube. It was powerful and sad at the same time because as a young Vincentian, I should have grown up knowing more about this mighty man of my soil, it would have inspired me to be more at a younger age. But we don’t celebrate we own here, especially artist. Alyo remember Yaphatto ?
Karen Defraitas wanted to make a portrait of a rude girl, Vincy style. I accepted the challenge but as I began to paint her I began to see how everything is connected. She was the girl I loved all my life. I endured suffering and insult to be with her and in the end I realized she wasn’t for me.
I think st. Vincent and the Grenadines has become that girl for me and other creatives who live and operate on the island. It’s hard to be an artist in Vincy, I love it here and I want to help develop our expressions of identity but Vincy is a savage woman and her value system is not hers. You have to explode like dynamite outside in the USA or Europe to make in with sweet Vincy. While the richness of the soil and sea exists, our talent is getting eaten by insects and birds. On the domestic front sampling the possibility of doom. We creatives are forced to pray for a plane ticket to any other place on the planet because we will never manifest, or contribute to the social development of our home. That’s just how it is in Vincy.