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Art is my salvation

My name is Akley Olton and at a very early age, the realities of life were revealed to me, and set me on my journey. My mother, Delores Olton, reiterated daily that education would give me the best chance. She struggled and sent me to school, and I have always honoured her efforts by doing my best.

In 2005, I started the Art and Design Course at the St. Vincent Community College lectured by Ms. Vonnie Roudette.  I graduated from the St. Vincent & Grenadines Community College (SVGCC) in 2007 and was awarded the Governor General’s Art Scholarship, which was funded by the late Felix Dennis. In 2011 I graduated from the University of the West Indies, Cave Hill, EBCCI Film program. My journey into cinema has allowed me to travel the world which has become my greatest and most effective teacher. In 2014 I was awarded a full scholarship to attend The International School of Film and TV (EICTV) in San Antonio de los Banos - Cuba. The EICTV is considered one of the most prestigious audio-visual training institutions in the world.

When I graduated from the University of the West Indies at Cave Hill, the models of economic growth that existed in St. Vincent and the Grenadines at that time didn’t provide an avenue for me to earn a stable income from my chosen profession.  This made me very frustrated. I became proactive and applied my education in the arts; I love creating art.  It is how I wish to spend every hour of the day. It’s the reason why I have continued to grow in this field. My work has helped me to discover myself and forge something new that I use to earn a living. When you find what you love, please don’t give it up.  Some days, and even months will be hard but it will pay off if you endure.

Success is measured by a selfish tendency that exists in all of us, but lately I have been exploring a different perspective that correlates success to living with a divine purpose. In all of this living I have realised that art has empowered me and I intend to share this power with my people by carving the way to an expression of our identity that will allow Vincentians to see more possibilities and break away from the proverbial glass ceiling.Island Rebel is a manifestation of this love I have found.  I am currently building a Vincentian based audio\visual production company that manifested as a result of my rebellion.Its purpose is to image the Caribbean, by documenting and preserving its vibrant culture. The arts are vehicles of social and economic change and more successful models of local creative industries products need to be inculcated in to our societies.

Art has helped me to see the beauty and vibrancy of our islands.  It has given me power and has also invoked an introspective rebellion.  Since graduating from the EBCCI programme, I have been working tirelessly at laying the foundations of a Film Industry in St. Vincent and the Grenadines while learning and growing from the experiences of other Caribbean Filmmakers.

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