Shades of Noir Tribute to Khadija Saye

On Wednesday the 14th of June, the Grenfell Tower fire took place. A devastating inferno swallowed the tower, claiming lives, destroying family homes and igniting a mass community movement of self-organisation that London hadn’t seen for a long time; (or perhaps ever) in search, in aid and in justice for all victims of this disaster. Both Khadija Saye and her mother lived on the 20th floor of Grenfell Tower in West London.

Friends, family and the community took to social media and the streets in search of some of the victims missing, Khadija and her mother were amongst them. Recent news reported that both Khadija and her mother were devastatingly two of the victims of the fire and did not survive.

Khadija Saye was a talented photographer and an emerging artist of Gambian heritage. Described as ‘a true artist with a sensitive and generous singular vision and will be missed by everyone who knew her.’  Khadija had only recently taken part in the Diaspora Pavilion during the 57th Venice Biennale, a showcase of emerging artists curated by David A Bailey to showcase young racially and culturally diverse emerging artists. Khadija’s currently exhibited photographic pieces: ‘Dwelling: in this space we breathe’ are a series of photographs using 19th-century techniques exploring the migration of traditional Gambian spiritual practice are still on show.

‘Dwelling: in this space we breathe is a series of wet plate collodion tintypes that explores the migration of traditional Gambian spiritual practices and the deep rooted urge to find solace within a higher power.’

She’s listed in the exhibition catalogue at #15 right next to Yinka Shonibare at #16

Back in November 2014, she was exhibiting her series Crowned at the Mall Galleries in the ING Discerning Eye exhibition – having been invited by one of the artist curators Nicola Green. Others echoed the idea that she brought a powerful light into the world. “She had an energy about her,” said fellow artist Ray Fiasco, who exhibited alongside Saye as part of the Diaspora Platform at the Venice Biennale – “She glowed, that’s the best I can describe it.

‘I never met you, but I know many of my friends and their friends knew you. We were the same age, in the same trade (art) and we lived in the same big corner of the city (west). We may have met soon enough. But though I never met you, hearing of the tragic, senseless way that you, your mother and your neighbours were taken away from this world, has broken my heart. Every time I read about you or hear David Lammy speak about you it hits me hard, how you were making #blackgirlmagic and were reaching so far and high. May you rest in peace and may justice be found for you, for everyone.’  – Anni Movsisyan


The Shades of Noir team’s thoughts, love and support are with her family and friends. May you rest in power Khadija, your labour and talent will always be remembered.


We Salute You.


Further links and reads:

Let’s celebrate the work of Khadija Saye:

Khadija Saye Photography: