British Artist Khadija Saye Confirmed Among Victims of London Tower Fire

Meanwhile, mourning is turning into anger as protesters demand answers about the blaze.

Khadija Saya. Image via Independent Curators Forum.
Khadija Saye. Image via Independent Curators Forum.

Khadija Saye, the British artist who was missing in the aftermath of a fire that struck a London residential tower, has been confirmed among the victims of the blaze. As the death toll rises to at least 30 fatalities, around 70 people remain unaccounted for, according to the BBC.

The 24-year-old was in her apartment with her mother Mary Mendy, who is thought to be in her fifties, when the fire broke out. Saye told friends in a series of Facebook messages that she was unable to escape due to thickening smoke, writing “pray for me.”

Saye’s death was confirmed by the British member of parliament for the London district of Tottenham David Lammy, who is is married to Saye’s mentor Nicola Green. “May you rest in peace Khadija Saye. God bless your beautiful soul. My heart breaks today. I mourn the tragic loss of a wonderful young woman,” he posted.

The young photographer’s work is currently on view at the Diaspora Pavilion at the 57th Venice Biennale in an exhibition organized by the Independent Curators Forum.

Paying tribute to Saye, the International Curators Forum wrote on Facebook, “The family of our dear friend and colleague Khadija Saye has now confirmed that she 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. Our thoughts, love and support are with her family and friends.”

The family of our dear friend and colleague Khadija Saye has now confirmed that she died in the Grenfell Tower fire….

Posted by ICF International Curators Forum on Friday, June 16, 2017

Meanwhile, mourning turned into anger as more details of the circumstances surrounding the outbreak of the fire emerged. The BBC reports that between 50 and 60 protesters stormed offices of the local authority at Kensington Town Hall around noon on Friday demanding answers and greater support for survivors. Crowds also gathered at Prime Minister Teresa May’s residence at 10 Downing Street to vent their frustration at the government’s response.

Early investigations indicate numerous complaints from residents over inadequate fire safety, despite a £8.6 million refurbishment ($10.9 million) completed just last year.

Speaking to BBC Radio, Lammy laid the blame at the feet of the government and the housing developer. “Many of them [the buildings] should be demolished, they haven’t got easy fire escapes, they’ve got no sprinklers—it’s totally, totally unacceptable in Britain that this is allowed to happen and people lose their lives in this way, and people should be held to account.”


Follow artnet News on Facebook:


Want to stay ahead of the art world? Subscribe to our newsletter to get the breaking news, eye-opening interviews, and incisive critical takes that drive the conversation forward.

Share