Kosciuszko ArtsLink Fellow, musician, performer and folk tale narrator Yoanna Ayers collects and performs stories and songs of the peoples of Poland and the Caucasus. Her practice investigates how working with the human voice can contribute to the well-being of communities. Immersing into the connection between voice, body and emotions, Yoanna addresses post-trauma issues with an emphasis on women who have experienced war. She employs voice healing techniques, body movement and imagination as vehicles to overcome traumas in the world’s conflict zones.
Having spent a significant amount of time in the Republic of Georgia, Yoanna has collected stories by women of different ethnicities who went through one of the most brutal ethnic and civil wars inherited from the collapse of the Soviet Union in the early ‘90s. Those stories were presented in Yoanna’s solo performance which toured around small communities in southern Poland promoting respect for otherness and crushing the growing stereotypes about different social models, cultures, and faiths.
For her ArtsLink International Fellowship 2020 (virtual and in-person residencies), Yoanna explores voice-healing methodologies and their connection to body and emotions. Yoanna and her US host organization Found Sound Nation launched collaborations with a wide span of creative professionals in music, documentary, installation art, oral history, and somatic healing methodologies using Georgian and Polish songs and oral histories collected during the last decade in the Republic of Georgia. This collaboration explores ways of arranging and performing this music incorporating visual and oral storytelling from Georgia.