A Dream Deferred: From Caribbean Executive to Artist in France

Joya Cousin, portrait painter
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by Joya Cousin

I was born on the beautiful island of Antigua in the Caribbean. I was a curious child who loved science, reading and running around in nature. I also loved to draw and placed in several local and regional art competitions for kids. By the time I reached my teens, the only art I was creating were the doodles in the margins of my school notebooks.

What happens to a dream deferred?

I went to university and then I focused on building a career. I got a degree in computer science and accounting, and then pursued a designation as a chartered accountant. I worked in accounting and finance for almost a decade with “Big 4” accountancy firms Ernst & Young, KPMG and PwC. I then worked in management for another ten years, and was honored to have been awarded “Corporate Leader of the Year” by the St Lucia Chamber of Commerce.

In 2015, my life changed forever. A mutual friend introduced me to the man who would become my husband. Although I couldn’t speak a word of French, and he knew little English, we fell in love immediately. I had spent my whole life living and working in the Caribbean, but I soon left everything behind to start a new life with him in France – for love.

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