Khadija Saye: In This Space We Breathe at the British Library
06 Dec 2020
KHADIJA SAYE’S SELF-PORTRAIT SERIES, 'KHADIJA SAYE: IN THIS SPACE WE BREATHE', IS NOW OPEN AT THE BRITISH LIBRARY.
Composed of nine powerfully evocative silk-screen prints by Gambian–British artist Khadija Saye, the series demonstrates Saye’s deep concern with ‘how trauma is embodied in the black experience’ and her exploration of her Gambian heritage and mixed-faith background. Saye photographed herself with cultural, religious and spiritual objects of significance both to her Christian mother and Muslim father, and in African traditions of spirituality.
Back in 2017, Khadija worked with Jealous to print photographs onto metal to create tintypes for the Diaspora Pavilion at the Venice Bienale. She experimented with the wet collodion process, resulting in the distinctive and atmospheric quality of the images.
Saye and her mother, Mary Ajaoi Augustus Mendy, were tragically killed in the Grenfell fire of 2017. The fire destroyed most of Saye’s original artworks, including many of the tintypes in this series, and a suitcase containing some of the objects featured in them. The silkscreen prints on display at the British Library were created from scans of Saye’s tintypes and are on loan from The Estate of Khadija Saye.