Works by Grenfell artist Khadija Saye launch public art project

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Works by Grenfell artist Khadija Saye launch public art project
A general view of the atmosphere at the unveiling of 'Breath is Invisible', a new public art project, launching with an installation of works by Grenfell artist Khadija Saye in Notting Hill.

LONDON.- A new public art project, Breath is Invisible (7 July – 9 Oct 2020), launches today in Notting Hill with an installation of works by Khadija Saye, the young Gambian-British artist who tragically lost her life in the Grenfell Tower fire in 2017, aged just 24. Saye’s is the first of three site-specific exhibitions that comprise the project; later this summer artists Martyn Ware, Zachary Eastwood-Bloom and Joy Gregory will present new commissions that have been created in partnership with the local community.

Working collaboratively with young creatives and arts organisations in the area, Breath is Invisible was born out of an urgency to address issues of social inequality and injustice. Breath is Invisible is the brainchild of patron and businesswoman Eiesha Bharti Pasricha and is curated by Sigrid Kirk. The project was launched by David Lammy, Labour MP for Tottenham and Shadow Secretary of State for Justice, who knew Khadija Saye.,

The project’s community partners include Amplify Studios, The Harrow Club and The Khadija Saye IntoArts Programme which also launched today. Founded by Nicola Green and IntoUniversity, The Khadija Saye IntoArts Programme aims to address the lack of diversity in the UK arts sector by providing opportunities for young people from BAME and disadvantaged communities across the UK.

in this space we breathe (7 July - 7 August) is an installation of nine large-scale prints of Saye’s most celebrated works shown across the fašade of 236 Westbourne Grove in Notting Hill. Exploring the migration of traditional Gambian spiritual practices, Saye said of the works, ‘The series was created from a personal need for spiritual grounding after experiencing trauma. The search for what gives meaning to our lives and what we hold onto in times of despair and life changing challenges.’ Portfolio sets of Saye’s silkscreen prints will be available for sale, with the proceeds going to The Khadija Saye IntoArts Programme and the Estate of Khadija Saye.

The second exhibition in the series to be invisible (11 August - 4 September), is an aural and visual 3D installation based on the song To Be Invisible by Curtis Mayfield. Inspired by current events associated with the Black Lives Matter movement, Martyn Ware’s soundscape overlays the sounds of the city with a narration of Mayfield’s emotive lyrics to create a meditative ‘fever dream’. Young musicians from Amplify Studios on Portobello Road created audio contributions which Ware arranged into the final piece. In tandem, artist Zachary Eastwood-Bloom used bio-feedback from the composition to create a generative digital 3D rendering - a visual representation of the effects of racism that will be projected on the windows of the building.

The genesis of Joy Gregory’s work The Invisible Life Force of Plants (8 September - 9 October) is her research into the history of botany between 17th and 19th centuries, revealing how everyday plants we think of as ‘native’ species have their origins elsewhere. Transported across global trade routes as food sources the symbolic, ritualistic and medicinal values of the plants travelled with the cargo. Gregory says ‘My research led me to look at my own personal history through the narrative of plants, their relationship to human ecology and the environment, and the idea of plants as a life force.’ Working with local young people from The Harrow Club, Gregory has collected and dried plants gathered from the community gardens, parks and pavements of West London to create the lumen prints and cyanotypes which will be on display.

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