Making films since 1986, acclaimed artist Alia Syed’s recent works combine her interest in storytelling with a compelling presentation of history as visual narrative. Her unique approach connects different subjective positions in relation to culture, diaspora, and location. Followed by an artist’s Q&A.
In association with MIRC, University of East London.
Unfolding (1988, 16mm film, 20min)
Filmed in a council launderette; a functional space, but also a place where women meet socially, Unfolding documents both the lives of the women and question the artist’s role as maker.
Fatima’s Letter (1992, 16mm film, 19min)
Using the framing device of a letter written by a newly arrived migrant to London to the friend she left behind, the film is a mediation on the power relations inherent in translation, memory and how the audience is implicated in different forms of viewing.
Panopticon Letter’s: Missive I (2012, Super16mm/Digital, transferred to HD Video, 23min)
Exploring ideas of memory, techniques of the body and colonialism within the tradition of landscape painting, footage of the river Thames in London is altered to bring about a false relationship between sky and water.
On a Wing and a Prayer (2016, HD video, 18min)
Images and sounds recorded in the Rotherhithe Tunnel form a performative response to Abdul Rahman Haroun’s, a Sudanese asylum seeker, journey through the Channel Tunnel in 2015,
Clippy (2016, 16mm film transferred to HD video, 3 min)
Contemporary and archive footage, audio interviews and a combination of traditional Scottish and South Asian music build a picture of how migration has shaped the city of Glasgow.
Building on over 25 years of filmmaking, Alia Syed’s recent works combine her interest in storytelling with a compelling presentation of history as visual narrative. Her unique approach sutures different subject positions in relation to culture, diaspora and location. She was shortlisted for the 2015 Jarman Award and her latest film On a Wing and a Prayer was shown at this year’s London Film Festival.
Syed’s films have been shown at numerous institutions around the world including Los Angeles County Museum of Art in 2012-13, 5th Moscow Biennale (2013); Museum of Modern Art, New York (2010); Museo National Centro de Arte Reina Sofia, Madrid (2009); XV Sydney Biennale (2006); Hayward Gallery, London (2005); Tate Britain, London (2003); and Glasgow Museum of Modern Art (2002). She has also held several solo exhibitions at Talwar Gallery in New York and New Delhi. Current show On a wing and a prayer Talwar Gallery New York http://talwargallery.com/allanalia-pr/