Vanessa Johnson Griot/Storyteller

I am a Griot, a teller of tales.

I Tell memory through my Story Performances, One Woman Shows, Mixed Media Quilts, Plays, Short Stories, and I Sing Tales with my storytelling band, Matie Masie! 

Upcoming Events

Vanessa is available for both in-person and virtual presentations

“Telling Fire” - Solo Exhibition at Onondaga Community College

Ann Felton Center Gallery

March 11th - April 26th, 2024

Artist Talk and Reception - March 13th 12-1:00

Telling Fire!” combines mixed media fiber art with written narrative text about my life journey. From childhood to adulthood, I have been labeled by America and have battled the negative stereotypes of those labels; piccaninny, ape, coon, eggplant, jigaboo, colored, nigger, negro...  Throughout my life I have fought to define my own identity and have embraced Black, Afro-American, African-American, African, and Black again. I have lived the complexities of these self identifications and their social, political, economical, emotional, and spiritual implications. “Telling Fire” shares the life-long struggle for self identity in a country that prefers me to be silent and invisible.


Fire is defined as “the rapid oxidation of a material in the exothermic chemical process of combustion, releasing heat, light, and various reactive productions. At the combustion point, flames are produced”. The flame is the visible portion of the fire. My storytelling in the “Telling Fire” mixed media fiber art exhibition is a visible flame of truth.

"Straddling Oceans" was a retrospective of artwork by multifaceted artist, Vanessa Johnson. The exhibition was a mixed media visual journey through the African Diaspora.

Find out when and where you can find your favorite Griot...

Performances, workshops, lectures, and more...

Ancestor's Daughter

Exhibits, fiber arts, fiber workshops, and more...