Vera Oye’ Yaa-Anna affectionately known as Auntie Oye’ is a master storytelling, who incorporates laughter, dance and theatre to engage audiences in the experience of African culture and diversity within our own community. A native of Liberia, Vera is a cultural educator who transports her audience to Africa through interactive storytelling, dance and music activities. Auntie Oye' shares her skills with patients and caregivers "to uplift the soul and empower the individual to deal with the challenges of illness. "Vera Oye' Yaa-Anna has the rare gift that so many artists strive for - the ability to transform the way in which we think about and understand our world, our community, and our selves.
Vera brings a unique blend of creativity and skills to her work as a gifted storyteller and performing artist. She not only draws upon her own extraordinary experiences as an emigrant from political strife in Liberia, but her own personal recovery from a major stroke. Vera truly exemplifies the enormous power of the arts to transform the way in which each of us meets challenges in life, whether medical, social, or other sources.
This is Vera’s fourth residency as a member of Smith Farm's local team of artists-in-residence. Artist-in-residence engage cancer patients, their caregivers and other patients with chronic illness in creative arts activities as part of their healing process at Howard University Hospital, Washington Hospital Center, and Holy Cross Hospital. She is well known and well loved by the thousands of patients, family members and staff she has encountered at the hospitals over the past four years. In addition, she has provided workshops and performances for cancer patients and their caregivers. She has also helped the hospital staff, to communicate and share with each other as a family of creative and unique individuals committed to a noble mission.
Vera draws upon her own remarkable recovery from a massive stroke to develop strategies for engaging cancer patients and others to focus on the dynamics of expressive communication as part of the healing process. Most remarkable, however, is her ability to engage the audience - whether one individual or hundreds of participants - whether confined to a wheel chair or standing in a large ballroom - to experience the creative and catalytic pulse that rekindles personal and positive energy and a sense of well-being.
Vera Oye' Yaa-Anna has emerged as a powerfully effective performance artist who is sought out by organizations who want their members to experience something special. She has received standing ovations for her presentations at many community events, ranging from health-care and education benefits, to public service and political events. We know Vera makes an incredible difference in the lives of Washingtonians – through the thank you cards and notes she receives. Vera makes a vital contribution to cancer and the wellness community by demonstrating through her life and her artistry, that everything is possible when we believe in our responsibility and ourselves to connect in a meaningful way with each other.
Liberian-born Artist Releases Storytelling/Music Benefit CD To Support Non-profit Organizations!
Washington DC – Stories Under the Table CD is funded in part by the D. C. Commission on the Arts and Humanities, an agency supported in part by the National Endowment for the Arts and The Boston Foundation. In 2002 and 2005, Auntie Oye’ was awarded the prestigious Artist Fellowship Program award for support of storytelling. In appreciation to the residents of Washington, D.C. and the metropolitan area, the D. C. Commission on the Arts and Humanities, the artist is donating fifty percent of the CD proceeds to benefit cancer support groups and organizations serving children.
Acclaimed master storyteller Vera Oye’ Yaa-Anna affectionately known as “Auntie Oye’”, has produced a wonderful sampler CD full of stories from Africa and her own original tales. Stories Under the Table is full of fun and lessons for children, ages five to 105. Master storyteller Auntie Oye’, who describes herself as “your cousin and auntie from Liberia.” Like any master storyteller, Auntie Oye’ knows how to engage her audience at the very beginning of each tale. Her crystal clear voices weaves it magic with words as we breathlessly wait to see where her tales will take us and who we will meet along the journey. Her characters include Tweet Tweet and his lucky seersucker shorts; the wife who must get milk from a leopard; Pepe, the bilingual mouse who speaks “Mouse” and “Dog” and the wedding guest who feeds his clothes. One story after another, each better than the last offers up laughs and lessons for everyone. Shhhhh, gather around and listen to Auntie Oye’. You won’t want to miss a word at this FREE EVENT or THE RECEPTION!
“Yaa-Anna’s warm spontaneity, unforced stage presence and uncanny ability to connect with her audience make her a natural storyteller…”
Michael O'Sullivan, The Washington Post
“Yaa-Anna is one of Washington’s leading storytellers…”
Nicole Fuller, The Washington Post
“I visited Africa without leaving New Orleans. Thanks to Yaa-Anna. Actor, teacher, guide, comedian and historian…”
Shelia Stroup, The Times-Picayune
“Yaa-Anna seems born to be a hostess. She laughs and greets in-a deep sing-song voice and floats around the room in a shimmering aqua marine native gown like so much
magical sea foam. Imagine a modern African Carole Lombard and you’ll be close…”
Hillary Johnson, The Los Angeles Times
Vera - I just listened to your CD and am very impressed - it is so well done content-wise as well as the technical side - it is a good demonstration of the range of stories you tell and the beautiful delivery you have - I like the musical introductions and sound effects (not overdone - just right) - you can be very proud!!!
Smith Farm Center for
Healing & the Arts