A dear friend of mine has recently passed away in England. Her name was Anne Jennings Brown.
We used to call her Anne-la out of respect. Anne-la came to Dharamsala in 1982. She was a tall and elegant English lady, in her fifties, visiting the Tibetan community for the very first time. She came up to Tibetan Institute of Performing Arts (TIPA) and decided to help the school and live with us. She became part of our artistic family. At that time I didn’t know much about her life in England, but when I visited her website, I learned a lot about her and her life before coming to India. Here is her website http://www.skywalkinglife.com/
Anne-la lived among us never complaining a single day about the harsh reality of our refugee artistic life. I remember her drawing a lot and also writing. Here are few drawings from her website http://user29889.vs.easily.co.uk/?page_id=774 She had an ease in drawing everything from our costumes to the first Tibetan pictorial map. During special occasions she would dress in traditional Tibetan dress, or Chuba. She looked gorgeous and elegant.
Apart from teaching, and helping at the Institute, Anne-la was responsible for generating funds to build a Tibetan culture school dormitory. This project was initiated by then TIPA director, Jamyang Norbu la. The vision for the school was to house children who would receive a full education and become the future artists of TIPA. Her family and community’s generosity wasn’t limited only to TIPA but to numerous other Tibetan charitable organization in exile. She had written a boon on Tibet called “Living Tibet” A diary about her visit to India and Tibetan community. You can read an extract from the book here. http://user29889.vs.easily.co.uk/?page_id=250
I want to send our deepest condolences to Anne-la and her family. May she be reborn again as a kind, adventurous, compassionate lady like she was in this lifetime. She was truly a mother, a great artist and a humanitarian.
Om Mani Padme Hum!
In 2012, Anne-sent me this email:
“My dear Tashi,
How wonderful to hear from you and to see the picture of you looking so splendid with your band – most impressive! I so wish I could be in the audience to hear and see you again.
I wonder if you will ever come to England?”
Anne-la, Sorry that we couldn’t put together a tour to visit you and your family. I do promise that one day, we will visit your town and dedicate a concert in your memory. We will miss you.