Won-Ldy Paye

Won-Ldy Paye


(517) 393-0970

Award Winning Children’s Book Author, 

Artist and Performer

“Liberian Arts in Motion”


Won-Ldy Paye – My love for art started when I was a kid in Tappita, a rice farming region in Northeastern Liberia. Rice farming in the tropical rain forest can be daunting, therefore, my grandmother will entertain us through stories and singing. Storytelling helps us forget about the hard day’s work. It helps us  sleep well. On market day, Tappita would explode with people: friends and relatives, merchants and buyers, musicians, masks dancers, magicians and fortune tellers, chiefs, storytellers, animals and children would come from far and near. The town would transform to a vibrant and a magical place.”

Tlo-ker-mehn, a play person. Life is a play.  So, Won-Ldy founded and directed the Trow Trow Artist Workshop which become the fourth largest cultural trope in Liberia in the mid 80s.  He was brought on board as on of the Executive Members of the Liberian Cultural Union and he was  credited for introducing some of the earliest comic and health educational radio dramas in Liberia that were sponsored by UNCEF, CARE-Liberia, PLAN International-Liberia and ELWA Radio Station.

Won-Ldy Paye captivates audiences of all ages. His artistic skills have been presented on stages in Liberia and British Columbia in Canada, in class rooms through out United States, in Mexico City, Mexico, and Katmandu in  Nepal. He has had the opportunities to worked in the past(1988-2001) on many residencies as Artist in Residence with the Washington State Arts Commission, Seattle Arts Commission, Anchorage School District, and Montana Art Council and presently as a Teaching Artist and Performing Artist listed in the Directory of The Connecticut Commission on Culture and Tourism. Won-Ldy brings traditional Liberian culture – music, dance, storytelling and art – to life through storytelling, the use of traditional Liberian musical instruments, singing, and audience participation.

“A society with no culture is like a tree without roots.”

The uncivil civil war in Liberia during the eighties and nineties, Won-Ldy Paye sorted residency in the city of Seattle in Washington. He became an Artist-in-Residence and an Unofficial Ambassador of the Liberian Culture. For many years he taught Liberian dance through the Experimental College at the University of Washington, and hosted a weekly African music Radio Show – “The Best Ambiance” on the than KCMU FM 93.5. He advised Seattle Art Museum on African arts during many exhibitions and booking Agents on African art and music.    Won-Ldy was the front man for such Northwest based African-Ethno-Pop dance bands like JEKAJO,  Smell No Taste,  Zigehleh and as well as Village Drum & Masquerade (Traditional Liberian music and masks dance troupe).

“Storytelling is putting sensual emotions into events or playing with words as though they were toys.” Won-Ldy Paye

Acrylic on canvas 2014. By Won-Ldy Paye

Portraits of self and mother by Won-Ldy Paye

“Won-Ldy Paye in 1998 introduce to a worldwide audience 6 folktales form Liberia in a book –Why Leopard Has Spots, published by Fulcrum Publishing. He is the co-Author of The Talking Vegetable, 2006, Mrs. Chicken and the Hungry Crocodile: A Story from Liberia, 2003, Head, Body, Legs: A Story from Liberia, 2002 published by Henry Holt and Company. Some of Won-Ldy works are published in SRA/McGraw-Hill text books and as well as in other scholarly publications.

“It takes the whole village to raise a child.” African proverb

Won-Ldy Paye has worn numerous Awards and has performed in Africa, Unite States, Canada, Kathmandu, Nepal and Mexico City, Mexico. Won-Ldy Children’s book – HEAD, BODY, LEGS, which is also printed in Japanese and Korean, was selected as the “We Share a Story 2007” featured book! Children in 23 countries worldwide participated in “We Share a Story” program. Participating countries included Ethiopia, Kenya, Rwanda, Morocco, Zambia, Mali, United States, Denmark, England, Germany, Netherlands, Norway, Republic of Korea, Cambodia, Hong Kong, Japan, Nepal, Chile, Brazil, Venezuela, Russia and Australia (New South Wales).

Won-Ld Paye, Teller-in Residnece, NSC