Young Vincentian Film graduate gains prestigious award
June 28, 2013

Young Vincentian Film graduate gains prestigious award

Aiko Roudette graduated in May 2013 from the esteemed liberal arts university in New York, Bard College, with distinction. She earned the prestigious Maya Deren Prize, awarded to a film major for excellence in, and commitment to, cinema.{{more}}

Aiko’s senior project was a film entitled “Hoghole”, named after the area in Penniston, St Vincent and the Grenadines where she was raised with her brother, Marlon, by their mother, artist Vonnie Roudette. Aiko’s film was screened in New York on May 4 and subsequently to a public audience on May 24.

In 2009, Aiko was awarded a scholarship from Atlantic College in the UK to study at Bard College, NY.

In January 2013, she returned to St Vincent and the Grenadines to make a portrait film about Captain Lawrence Guy, when her home was burgled. Her laptop and hard drives containing all of her film work were stolen. Forced to reflect on the many burglaries of her family home since her childhood, Aiko redirected her project towards the theme of violation of personal space.

In her artist’s statement accompanying the film screening, she wrote:

“I was not born on the Isle of St Vincent, but in England. We adopted the island as our home in 1992 when I was two years old. Twenty-one years later we have been fully expelled. Our house has been broken into too many times, our lives have been threatened, every time we try to go back, something happens and we have to leave again. Pulled by exquisite beauty, pushed by intolerable violence, bearing the fears “what if we’d been home when they broke in? What if we’d entered the growing ranks of those murdered during a burglary? These have been real and actual concerns for the past eight years.”

On her return to her house to begin filming after the burglary she states:

“Everything wept as it lay, removed and bathed in the lilac light of nostalgia and loss. And there I was within it. There were many things, my pets, my family, cyclically struck down with a maddening purple insomnia, pock marked and struggling for air.”

Combining rich tropical textural imagery with haunting sounds, intercut with interviews with local residents, Aiko’s film explores the raw emotion of being criminally violated, whilst transforming suffering through the art form into a high aesthetic.

The film breaks down the prevailing perception that art and life are separate and demonstrates how powerful and persuasive artforms emerge from confronting and expressing our suffering. In so doing, she also creates a testament to the strength and resolve of the human spirit, articulating a struggle pertinent to the survival of Caribbean islanders throughout its colonial history.

“This film, Hoghole, was born out of the perception of loss, absence, lack and the apparition of space in the shape of familiar objects. This seems appropriate, in fact, for an island of displaced people whose culture has been born from a sentiment of loss an absence of place.”

Aiko was delighted her film was met with critical acclaim and intends to continue working on her film projects. She has been invited to work with award winning documentary filmmakers Dennis Watlington and Nina Rosenblum, with whom she interned during her senior year.

The young artist’s work emerges as psycho/social documentation, a declaration of concern about violence in contemporary society, as she clearly states:

“There are few in St Vincent that have not been affected by the violence of the island. Even fewer are those who have experienced it only once or twice.”

In a passionate declaration of the power of creativity to address social challenges through “the friction of sound and image”, Aiko demonstrates the dedication that earned her the Maya Deren Prize in her commitment to filmmaking as a “chance from which we can hope for illumination.”

We look forward to a local screening of this extraordinary short film that consolidates and articulates the unspoken reverberations in the hearts of all Caribbean islanders.