Two Gambians, daughter and mother have died after sustaining serious injuries when a London apartment skyscraper caught fire on Wednesday. British-Gambian artist Khadija Saye, 24, and her mother, Mary Mendy, 53, were first reported missing but later found by firefighters and taken to the hospital.
They did not make it.
Saye is currently included in the Venice Biennale’s Diaspora Pavilion.
According to the Telegraph, the building has between 400 and 600 residents.
Saye lived on the 20th floor of the 24-story Grenfell Tower with her mother.
“She was saying she just can’t get out and ‘Please pray for me. There’s a fire in my council block. I can’t leave the flat. Please pray for me and my mom,’” said Nicola Green, her friend and mentor.
“We’re told some people have been rescued up to the 19th and 20th floor. She was on the 20th floor. Nobody has any information at this point.”
When Saye was first reported missing, the Tottenham Labour MP, David Lammy (who is Green’s husband), sent out a tweet pleading for information about Saye’s whereabouts, describing her as a “dear friend, a beautiful soul and an emerging artist.”
Though the cause of the fire, which began shortly before 1 am, remains unknown, fears that a catastrophic blaze could occur at Grenfell Tower date back at least four years.
The Grenfell Action Group, a residents’ association, repeatedly warned about the risk of fire and claimed a major blaze was narrowly averted after a power surge in 2013.
The group said its concerns were dismissed.
Witnesses described screams of terror and people jumping in an attempt to reach safety.
A baby was caught by a member of the public after being dropped from the ninth or 10th floor, a witness said.
More than 200 firefighters tackled the blaze at its peak with more than 40 engines. Sixty-five people were rescued.
Saye was born and raised in London. She graduated from the University for the Creative Arts in southern England in 2013.
Her work, which is rooted in photography, is shaped by her multicultural and multi-faith background.
Her recent series have focused on subjects including traditional spiritual practices in The Gambia, hairstyles as manifestations of personal identity and culture, the function of mosques as community centers, and drag performance.
This is the stunning and moving art of Khadija Saye. 4News