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 Fellowship in this post-pandemic era, Yoanna wants to further explore voice-healing methodologies and their connection to body and emotions. She is interested in working with women in cultural minorities and underprivileged groups.