[Image: a smiling black woman speaking into a microphone]
Part 4 of a series of posts honoring the Grenfell Tower victims.
Khadija Saye, from the 20th
floor of Grenfell Tower
Khadija Saye, 24, was a Gambian-British art photographer and a care worker. The day before she died, an art gallery director asked to set up a meeting with her, moving her closer to recognition as a talented artist. Her artworks were also being exhibited in Venice at the time she and her mother lost their lives at Grenfell. She was “in love with images” her father Mohammedu Saye told the Grenfell inquiry.
Her friend and fellow artist Nicola Green spoke to The Guardian about her, and the scholarship she won at 16 to the famous Rugby School:
“She was incredibly grateful for the experience, but she told me it was one of the most difficult things she had done. It was a completely different world to the one she was part of – she was living at the top of Grenfell Tower and the school was full of privileged people who sometimes seemed to her to have no understanding of that privilege.
It gave her an understanding that confidence is a mysterious thing – she was in search of it because she’d seen it. I think maybe it gave her the tenacity and determination to find it in herself.”
Her best friend Charlotte Levy also spoke to the Guardian:
“She was just the most incredible person, she went through so much stuff, but she always listened and was always there for you. She was making such powerful work, but still saying she didn’t have a clue. She was such a beautiful person, she lit up a room.”
MP David Lammy, a friend of hers, told The Guardian that before the Grenfell Tower Khadija had been wrongfully arrested by the British police and they had taken her phone off her. Despite her name being cleared they had never returned it. When the fire broke out Khadija had no phone to call for help, and used Facebook instead. “I am desperate about that fact,” Lammy told the newspaper.
Khadija’s uncle Damel Carayol handed Prime Minister Theresa May a painting titled “Eyesore!! Final Straw” during a meeting. Both the picture and the photograph paints a thousand words.