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Khadija Saye
“Sothiou”courtesy of Jealous Gallery/Studio of Nicola Green/Tate Britain

Art of Grenfell fire victim Khadija Saye exhibited at Tate

The talented 24-year-old photographer and artist’s work is on display at the Tate Britain, in memory of all those who lost their lives in the west London tragedy

The work of the late Khadija Saye, who was killed in the Grenfell Tower fire that has taken at least 79 lives and made hundreds homeless, has been put on display at Tate Britain. It’s a moving tribute to the memory of all those lost in the horrific tragedy.

Saye’s art has recently been on display at the Venice Biennale, exhibited at the UK’s Diaspora Pavilion. At 24-years-old she was the youngest artist included in the well-regarded show. Her work will remain on display there until November 26. 

Tate Britain has erected Saye’s “Sothiou” from 2017, a silkscreen print on paper. It’s part of a series of work Dwelling: in this space we breathe. The artistic oeuvre of the British Gambian artist thoughtfully explores diaspora, her heritage and spirituality.

Andrew Wilson, a senior curator at the Tate, told Buzzfeed: “By the time she was killed Khadija Saye was only just starting to get public recognition through her new body of work, Dwelling: in this space we breathe.

“(The Tate’s displayed work is) to celebrate Khadija’s achievement with these new works, and also to stand in some way as a means to remember her and her neighbours in the community in Grenfell Tower who were tragically killed on 14 June 2017.”

The artist and her mother both passed away in the blaze in the west London tower block.

The memorial gallery housing “Sothiou” also includes a piece of text beside her artwork, which reads: ‘In memory of Khadija Saye and all who lost their lives at Grenfell Tower on 14 June 2017’.

A memorial fund in Saye’s name has been set up with hopes to “support young artists like Khadija to realise their potential”.

In a recent memorial piece celebrating Saye’s life and art on Dazed, one of her close friends, said: “She forms the most wonderful connections with people and I think that is what people sense when they are being photographed by her – they felt at ease in her presence, they let her in”.

Friends and artistic peers of Saye pointed to her other works as examples of her talent and emotion, such as her Crowned series, a collection of eight photographs showing the nape of the neck and back view of intricate black hairstyles, taken in 2013. 

Recent news from the ongoing investigations into the tragedy has seen the Kensington council boss quit, following major criticism of the borough’s response to the fire. Since the incident, many residents remain homeless. Theresa May recently said that tests had shown similar cladding on a “number” of tower blocks in the UK are “combustible” – terrifying, given the poor infrastructure’s part in this horror.