We have some very sad news for friends of BandBazi. Many of you might have known Irene Mensah, an artist who worked with us on See It! Say It! Stop It! This was a short film addressing issues of religious and racial bullying in secondary schools, commissioned by Brighton & Hove City Council. Irene was one of the facilitators on the film, working with the young people involved to help them express their feelings about the subject in a creative way. Some of the young people had themselves been targets of bullying and Irene dealt with this sensitively and empathetically.
If you have time to watch the film which is about 20 minutes long you will see examples of her creativity throughout. She is also in one section (from 17:15 to 17:52), very briefly, something she was quite shy about but Maria Lloyd the director felt was important to include.
I adored working with Irene on the film and ever since have been thinking of ways to collaborate with her again. This looked like being possible when she put in a proposal to ART:sync for its forthcoming collaboration 'Domestic Affections'. I was very excited at the thought of working with her again. She was so mindful and inspiring. Full of integrity and imagination.
Earlier this month Irene was kind enough to write me a peer evaluation for our current tour of Mind Walking. I was very grateful for her kind words of support and encouragement and promised to 'return the favour' when she next presented a piece of work. Sadly, that time will never be. I didn't realise that the words I would be writing about her would be in the form of an obituary.
Rest in peace, Irene (1963-2013)
She was "a wonderful piece of work" (Shakespeare, Antony and Cleopatra: Act 1, Scene II)
There is a Facebook page for Irene Mensah that you can join to post thoughts and photographs and read messages from her friends and family around the world.
Tonight (Wednesday 17th April) The Legacy film club will be showing a short film about Irene's work as a dancer before the main film. 7pm at The Basement, Brighton. Tickets £3.