Tate commissioned British artist Chris Ofili to create an artwork for the North Staircase at Tate Britain. Ofili considered the significance of painting directly onto the walls of a public building and wanted to choose a subject that affected us as a nation. Requiem is a dream-like mural, resulting from his poetic reflections.
Ofili met fellow artist Khadija Saye in May 2017 when they were both exhibiting in Venice. One month later, Saye died in the Grenfell Tower fire. Memories of their meeting had a profound impact on Ofili. It helped him find a path to create this work, which holds at its centre an image of Saye as a ‘powerful creative force of transformation.’
When making this artwork, Ofili recalled the feelings he had when he made No Woman, No Cry in 1998 (The work is on display in Room 26 at Tate Britain). No Woman, No Cry is a tribute to Stephen Lawrence and his mother, Doreen. Stephen was murdered in a racially motivated attack in 1993. For Ofili, ‘a statement of sadness was manifested in No Woman, No Cry. That feeling of injustice has returned.’
‘I wanted to make a work in tribute to Khadija Saye. Remembering the Grenfell Tower fire, I hope that the mural will continue to speak across time to our collective sadness.’
Listen to Chris Ofili talk about the work
Requiem has been supported by the Chris Ofili Commission Supporters Circle: Andreas & Ulrike Kurtz, Victoria Miro, David Zwirner and all those who wish to remain anonymous
This project has been made possible with the support of Nicola Green and the Estate of Khadija Saye