Yusuf Yahya was born in Washington, D.C. He is the only Deaf child in his hearing family.
His parents are very musical: his father played the piano, and his mother was a jazz singer. They were playing in a band when, at the age of three, he began dancing.
After graduating from the Model Secondary School for the Deaf (MSSD), he became a professional dancer for the Sankofa Dance Theater in Baltimore. He joined them on their world tours from 1992 to 2006.
Also an artist, he is currently involved with the Guardian Dance Company. He is their only Deaf dancer.
As a self taught visual artist, he finds inspiration from his artist friend, Takiyah Harris and learned about the meaning of primary colors from a Deaf perspective from Nancy Rourke. He works largely with paints (acrylic and oil) and collage. Many of his pieces examine Black Deaf identity and equality.
Click image for specs for individual artworks