Khadija Saye

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Khadija Saye
Khadija Saye died 14 June 2017.jpg
Khadija Mohammadou Saye

(1992-07-30)30 July 1992
Died14 June 2017(2017-06-14) (aged 24)
North Kensington, London, England
Cause of deathGrenfell Tower fire
Other namesYa-Haddy Sisi Saye
EducationRugby School
Alma materUniversity for the Creative Arts
Known forPhotography and artwork

Khadija Mohammadou Saye (30 July 1992 – 14 June 2017), also known as Ya-Haddy Sisi Saye,[1] was a Gambian-British photographer.[2][3] Her photography explored her Gambian-British identity and was exhibited in the Diaspora Pavilion at the Venice Biennale in 2017. Saye died in the Grenfell Tower fire.

Life and work[edit]

Saye was born in London and initially attended the Sion Manning Roman Catholic Girls' School in North Kensington.[4] At age 14 she won a scholarship to Rugby School in Rugby, England.[5] Later she attended the University for the Creative Arts at Farnham and obtained a photography degree.[6][7] She lived with her mother, Mary Ajaoi Augustus Mendy, on the 20th floor of Grenfell Tower in North Kensington.[1][5] She was mentored by artist Nicola Green and became friends with Green's husband, Tottenham MP David Lammy.[5][8]

Saye's photography explored her Gambian-British identity.[9] In 2017 her series of photographs entitled Dwellings: in this Space we Breathe, based on Gambian spiritual practices,[1] was exhibited in the Diaspora Pavilion at the Venice Biennale.[6][10][11] The BBC had been planning to broadcast on 17 June a documentary TV programme, Venice Biennale: Sink or Swim, that included Saye. The programme "follows a team of diverse emerging artists as they install and prepare to launch the first ever Diaspora Pavilion in a Venetian palazzo during the Venice Biennale".[9] The programme was postponed after the fire[12] and transmitted in September 2017.

Her work was part of the reopening show of Kettle's Yard in Cambridge on 10 February 2018.[13]


Both Saye and her mother died in the Grenfell Tower fire on 14 June 2017.[6][14][15] Following her death, Tate Britain announced that it would exhibit a silkscreen of one of the pieces from the Dwellings series, Sothiou (2017), in the memorials section.[16]


  1. ^ a b c "London fire: Who are the victims?". BBC News. 19 June 2017. Retrieved 20 June 2017.
  2. ^ Movahedi, Sanaz (17 June 2017). "Among the victims, my kind, funny friend Khadija Saye, and her mum". The Observer. Retrieved 21 June 2017.
  3. ^ Berrington, Katie (19 June 2017). "Remembering Artist Khadija Saye". Vogue. Retrieved 21 June 2017.
  4. ^ "Khadija Saye (St 08-10)". Retrieved 17 July 2017.
  5. ^ a b c Smyth, Diane (20 June 2017). "Obituary: Khadija Saye, fast-rising artist killed tragically young in Grenfell Tower". British Journal of Photography. Retrieved 21 June 2017.
  6. ^ a b c Topping, Alexandra (17 June 2017). "Khadija Saye: artist on cusp of recognition when she died in Grenfell". The Guardian. Retrieved 19 June 2017.
  7. ^ "Artist Khadija Saye confirmed as victim of Grenfell Tower fire" A-N, 16 June 2017. Accessed 23 June 2017
  8. ^ Sommers, Jack (16 June 2017). "David Lammy Fights Back Tears Describing Khadija Saye, Who Died In Grenfell Tower Fire". The Huffington Post. Retrieved 19 June 2017.
  9. ^ a b "Venice Biennale: Sink or Swim" BBC Two. Accessed 29 June 2017
  10. ^ Shaw, Annie (19 June 2017). "In pictures: the 'remarkable, powerful' works of Khadija Saye who died in Grenfell Tower blaze". The Art Newspaper. Retrieved 21 June 2017.
  11. ^ Brinkhurst-Cuff, Charlie (20 June 2017). "Celebrating the art of Khadija Saye, a Grenfell fire victim". Dazed. Retrieved 21 June 2017.
  12. ^ Grafton-Green, Patrick (17 June 2017). "BBC pulls documentary featuring Grenfell Tower fire victim". London Evening Standard. Retrieved 17 June 2017.
  13. ^ Brown, Mark (4 December 2017). "Works by artist who died in Grenfell fire to be shown at Cambridge gallery". The Guardian. Retrieved 5 December 2017.
  14. ^ Woodcock, Andrew (17 June 2017). "Grenfell Tower fire: 24-year-old artist Khadija Saye named as victim". The Independent. Retrieved 21 June 2017.
  15. ^ "Five-year-old Grenfell fire victim died after his hand slipped from his neighbour's grasp as they tried to escape". Daily Telegraph. 26 June 2017.
  16. ^ Sulcas, Roslyn (20 June 2017). "Art of a Grenfell Tower Fire Victim Is Shown by the Tate". The New York Times. Retrieved 21 June 2017.

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