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KHADIJA SAYE: THE LOSS OF A FORMIDABLE YOUNG TALENT

KHADIJA SAYE: THE LOSS OF A FORMIDABLE YOUNG TALENT

AuthoPhoto
By Nina Millns
30 Jun 2017

24-year-old Khadija Saye was a promising young photographer who lost her life in the Grenfell fire. Her life and work are being celebrated in London and beyond.


Khadija-Saye
Khadija Saye photography

Khadija Saye was a promising young photographer whose life was tragically cut short in the fire that engulfed Grenfell Tower on 14th June this year. Saye worked from a flat on the 20th floor of the tower where she also lived with her mother Mary Mendy who is still missing, presumed dead.

Her work was being exhibited at the 57th Venice Biennale and had captured the attention and admiration of Waldemar Januszczak, art critic for the Sunday Times. Januszczak tweeted "Her art stood out across the entire Venice Biennale. It was some of the most moving work there."

"Her art stood out across the entire Venice Biennale. It was some of the most moving work there."

MP David Lammy, a close personal friend of Saye's, and his wife, artist Nicola Green who had mentored the promising young photographer, were close to tears when speaking of her. Lammy shared how she had recently met with a gallery owner who was interested in her work and her own tweet just weeks before her death read "It's been a real journey, but mama, I'm an artist exhibiting in Venice and the blessings are abundant."


Khadija-Saye
Khadija Saye photography

After her death, Januszczak suggested to Maria Balshaw, Director at the Tate Modern, that her work is displayed there. Balshaw responded by placing one of her pieces entitled Sothiou up at the gallery next to a plaque which reads "In memory of Khadija Saye and all who lost their lives at Grenfell Tower on 14th June 2017."

The 24-year-old's first major body of work has been described as "standout", "confident" and "important" and the collection entitled Dwelling: In This Space, We Breathe, which was being shown at the Biennale explored themes such as Identity and spiritual practices from her Gambian heritage.

"The 24-year-old's work explored themes such as Identity and spiritual practices from her Gambian heritage."

An earlier series of work Crowned celebrated and explored African hair and the women who surrounded her.

A memorial fund has been set up in Khadija's name to support young artists from marginalised backgrounds realise their potential. You can donate here.