Requiem by Chris Ofili

Chris Ofili’s Requiem remembers Grenfell fire at Tate Britain

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A new work by Turner Prize-winning artist Chris Ofili that opened on 12 September at Tate Britain recalls the Grenfell Tower fire of six years ago. Requiem is dedicated to fellow artist Khadija Saye, who perished in the blaze just a few weeks after Ofili met her at the Venice Biennale in May 2017.

The work covers three walls of the gallery. On the left, a kneeling prophet or witness supports the tower in his hands; straight ahead we see a medallion portrait of Saye holding a Gambian incense pot at the centre of an energy force; and the right-hand side is devoted to a landscape representing hope and peace with a mythical creature playing a flute under a tree or a vine. The dominant colours are fiery orange and the blue of sky and water.

Requiem is free to view at Tate Britain and will be on show for the next 10 years.

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The 24-storey Grenfell Tower in North Kensington was set ablaze by an electrical fault in a Hotpoint fridge-freezer on 14 June 2017. A combination of inflammable cladding, poor construction and maintenance practices and mistakes made in the emergency response resulted in the deaths of 72 people. A public inquiry that started on 14 September 2017 is expected to deliver its final report in the autumn.

You can find out more about the inquiry at a community drop-in session on Monday 18 September. It runs from 16.30 to 17.30 at Bay 20, 71 St Marks Road, London W10 6JG.

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