Before her untimely death in the devastating Grenfell Tower fire, Khadija Saye was a promising British artist whose photography was amassing glowing reviews from critics.
Her friend David Lammy MP revealed that the 24-year-old had met with a respected art gallery owner just days before the 14 June tragedy and now, in tribute, her work has gone on display at Tate Britain.
“Sothiou”, a silkscreen print on paper, is from Dwelling: in this space we breathe collection, showing in the Diaspora Pavilion at the Venice Biennale until 26 November.
— David Lammy (@DavidLammy) June 21, 2017
Khadija’s photography explores identity, diaspora and spirituality and religion. It was portrait-based, highly personal and often focused around her Gambian heritage.
Critic Waldemar Januszczak wrote in his Sunday Times review of the Biennale: “Khadija Saye makes gorgeous wet collodion tintypes in which this haunting 19th century photographic process heaps poetry and sadness onto her imagery.”
This is the stunning and moving art of Khadija Saye. On the brink of great success, she is missing presumed dead in the Grenfell Tower fire. pic.twitter.com/FgoVQmyz2b
— Channel 4 News (@Channel4News) June 17, 2017
The Khadjia Saye Memorial Fund has been set up in Khadija’s name to support blossoming artists like her realise their potential, despite their background and circumstance not necessarily granted them access to the training, internships and mentoring they need to succeed.
This time 4 years ago, I was in the process of shooting my Crowned series with £0, just some black velvet with beautiful friends & family pic.twitter.com/Ykz6seBKjE
— Khadija Saye (@Saye_Photo) March 5, 2017
It's been a real journey, but mama, I'm an artist exhibiting in Venice and the blessings are abundant! pic.twitter.com/FkH4cjLjYa
— Khadija Saye (@Saye_Photo) May 10, 2017
“Khadija was a true artist with a sensitive and generous singular vision and will be missed by everyone who knew her,” reads a message on the fundraising page.
So far, £4,245 of the target £50,000 has been raised, with one anonymous donor writing: “This is an excellent initiative and it’s just a shame that it takes a tragedy like this to encourage people to invest in young artists from the working class who have so much talent.”
Others have paid tribute to an “inspiring” women with “breathtaking talent”.