Memorial Fund Set Up For Artist Khadija Saye Killed In Grenfell Tower Blaze

Her work is now on display in the Tate.

A memorial fund has been launched to help young people follow in the footsteps of talented artist Khadija Saye, who tragically lost her life in the Grenfell Tower fire.

The 24-year-old photographer lived on the 20th floor of the tower block with her mother Mary Mendy, who is missing but presumed dead.

According to her mentor Nicola Green, Saye messaged friends while the fire tore through the building, asking them to pray for her and her mother.

Photographer Khadija Saye died in the Grenfell Tower fire last week
Photographer Khadija Saye died in the Grenfell Tower fire last week

Portrait artist Green told the Evening Standard: “She was saying she just can’t get out and ‘Please pray for me. There’s a fire in my council block. I can’t leave the flat.’”

Now Green, along with artist Dave Lewis and Ingrid Swenson, the director of independent arts organisation PEER UK, is trying to raise money to help support other emerging artists.

Saye had recently enjoyed success in the art world, with a selection of her work from her ‘Dwelling: In This Space We Breathe’ collection placed on display in the Venice Biennale last month.

“It’s been a real journey, but mama, I’m an artist exhibiting in Venice and the blessings are abundant!” Saye tweeted at the time.

In the days following her death, the Tate also hung one of the photographer’s self portraits in the gallery as a memorial to all those who died in the Grenfell Tower fire.

“Khadija was a true artist with a sensitive and generous singular vision, and will be missed by everyone who knew her,” Green’s crowdfunding page reads.

“We have been inundated with messages of love and support over the last few days.”

The trio are attempting to raise £50,000 for “study, informal training, internships or mentoring for a young person(s) whose background and circumstance might not necessarily grant them access to such support”.

Almost £2,000 has already been donated, with supporters calling the scheme a “wonderful initiative”.

“We will never forget,” another responded.

Creative Access, a social enterprise that helps young people from minority ethnic backgrounds find internships, has also launched a memorial fund in Saye’s honour.

According to the organisation, it secured Saye an internship at PEER UK between July 2015 and March 2016.

“She used her internship as a springboard for her burgeoning career, which was so tragically cut short,” the fundraising page reads.

The organisation now wants to “help transform lives and inspire other young BAME students who will become part of Khadija’s legacy” by raising funds for internships.

A spokesperson for Creative Access said: “As an individual, she was just a wonderfully giving, huge-hearted, warm person.

“She was hugely talented, but more than that she felt hugely passionate about her community and about being a young black woman working in the arts.

“She felt very strongly about bringing other people through.”

On Friday Labour MP David Lammy, husband of Green and a friend of Saye, told reporters that the photographer had done “amazing things”.

Appearing on Channel 4 News, he said: “She was a young black woman making her way in this country.

“She’d done amazing things — gone to university, the best in her life — but she’s died, with her mother, on the 22nd floor of the building.

“And it breaks my heart, that it’s happening in Britain in 2017.”


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