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ALIA SYED

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Priya, 2008-2011  16mm film

The themes that run throughout Alia Syed’s works are memory, representation, and colonialism. She constructs these themes through narratives from both personal and historical realities as well as through shifts in narrative from past to present. Utilizing both 16mm film and high-definition video, Syed mixes elements of sound, texture, and narrative to explore different subjects’ positions in relation to culture, location, and diaspora. In regard to her work, Syed has remarked, “Film can be a mirror—it can throw things back at us in a way that makes us question the ideas we have about ourselves and through this each other.”

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Alia Syed was born in Swansea, Wales. She attended the University of East London, UK, where she received her BA with Honors in Fine Art in 1987. In 1992 she graduated from the Slade School of Fine Art London, UK where she earned her Post Graduate Higher Diploma in Mixed Media. She lives and works in London, UK. She has been working in experimental filmmaking for over two decades. Syed’s films have been shown at numerous institutions around the world including the Yale Centre for British Art, New Haven, CT; Museum of Modern Art (MoMA), New York; Los Angeles County Museum of Art (LACMA), Los Angeles, CA; Museo Reina Sofia, Madrid, Spain; XV Sydney Biennale; Hayward Gallery, London; Tate Britain, London; Gallery of Modern Art (GoMA), Glasgow, Scotland; The New Art Gallery in Walsall, UK; and Tate Modern, London. Syed was shortlisted for the 2015 Jarman Award for innovation and experimentation in film making in Britain.

Selected Works

Selected Works Thumbnails

Meta Incognita: Missive II, 2019
HD Video
53 minutes

Meta Incognita: Missive II (Film Still)

Meta Incognita: Missive II (Film Still)

Observation Post, 2018
Pigment print on Hahnemuhle paper
57.6” x 72”
(Created in collaboration with Matthew Walter)

Observation Post (detail)

NE51.5400, 2018
Pigment print on Hahnemuhle paper
16 3/4” x 23 1/2”

Panopticon Letter's Missive I, 2012
16mm/Digital
23 minutes

Panopticon Letter's Missive I, 2012

Panopticon Letter's Missive I (Film Still)

Panopticon Letter's Missive I (Film Still)

Panopticon Letter's Missive I (Film Still)

On a Wing and a Prayer, 2016
HD video, sound
19 minutes

On a Wing and a Prayer (Film Still)

Priya, 2011
16mm film
13 minutes

Priya (Film Still)

Priya 1, 2007-8

C Print from 16 mm film

45" x 34 1/2"
 

Priya (detail)

Wallpaper, 2010
16 mm film
1 hour 6 minutes

Wallpaper (Film Still)

Wallpaper (Film Still)

Wallpaper (Film Still)

Wallpaper (Film Still)

Eating Grass, 2003
Film
24 minutes
(filmed in Karachi, Lahore, and London)

Eating Grass (Film Still)

Eating Grass (Film Still)

Eating Grass (Film Still)

Eating Grass (Film Still)

Swan, 1989
16mm film
4 minutes

Swan (Film Still)

Swan (Film Still)

Meta Incognita: Missive II, 2019
HD Video
53 minutes

Meta Incognita: Missive II (Film Still)

Meta Incognita: Missive II (Film Still)

Observation Post, 2018
Pigment print on Hahnemuhle paper
57.6” x 72”
(Created in collaboration with Matthew Walter)

Observation Post (detail)

NE51.5400, 2018
Pigment print on Hahnemuhle paper
16 3/4” x 23 1/2”

Panopticon Letter's Missive I, 2012
16mm/Digital
23 minutes

Panopticon Letter's Missive I, 2012

Panopticon Letter's Missive I (Film Still)

Panopticon Letter's Missive I (Film Still)

Panopticon Letter's Missive I (Film Still)

On a Wing and a Prayer, 2016
HD video, sound
19 minutes

On a Wing and a Prayer (Film Still)

Priya, 2011
16mm film
13 minutes

Priya (Film Still)

Priya 1, 2007-8

C Print from 16 mm film

45" x 34 1/2"
 

Priya (detail)

Wallpaper, 2010
16 mm film
1 hour 6 minutes

Wallpaper (Film Still)

Wallpaper (Film Still)

Wallpaper (Film Still)

Wallpaper (Film Still)

Eating Grass, 2003
Film
24 minutes
(filmed in Karachi, Lahore, and London)

Eating Grass (Film Still)

Eating Grass (Film Still)

Eating Grass (Film Still)

Eating Grass (Film Still)

Swan, 1989
16mm film
4 minutes

Swan (Film Still)

Swan (Film Still)

as the wind blows
as the wind blows
20th Anniversary Exhibition Talwar Gallery, New York September 25 - December 17, 2021
Alia Syed
Alia Syed
Meta Incognita: Missive II Talwar Gallery, New York January 12 - April 13, 2019
ALIA SYED & ALLAN deSOUZA
ALIA SYED & ALLAN deSOUZA
Contents Under Pressure Van Every/Smith Museum Galleries, Davidson, NC February 25 - April 10, 2016
ALIA SYED
ALIA SYED
Panopticon Letters Missive I Talwar Gallery, New York March 15 - May 18, 2013
On Line: Drawing Through the Twentieth Century
On Line: Drawing Through the Twentieth Century
The Museum of Modern Art (MoMA) New York, NY November 11, 2010 - February 7, 2011
ALIA SYED
ALIA SYED
Wallpaper Talwar Gallery, New York September 10 - October 30, 2010
ALIA SYED
ALIA SYED
New Films & Photoworks Talwar Gallery, New York April 26, 2008 - July 31, 2008
(desi)re
(desi)re
Talwar Gallery, New York February 18 - April 30, 2005
ALIA SYED
ALIA SYED
Eating Grass Talwar Gallery, New York January 9 - March 13, 2004
Institute of Contemporary Arts (ICA), London
Institute of Contemporary Arts (ICA), London
Public Intimacies, Correspondences: A Programme of Films by Alia Syed January 19, 2020
Württembergischer Kunstverein Stuttgart, Stuttgart
Württembergischer Kunstverein Stuttgart, Stuttgart
Alia Syed in Sleeping with a Vengeance, Dreaming of a Life October 19, 2019 - January 12, 2020
Yale Center for British Art
Yale Center for British Art
Alia Syed in Migrating Worlds: The Art of the Moving Image in Britain October 10 – December 29, 2019
Artforum
Artforum
Critic's Pick: Alia Syed February 2019
4Columns
4Columns
Allan deSouza and Alia Syed March 17, 2017
Art Asia Pacific
Art Asia Pacific
Eating Grass: Alia Syed July 2013
LACMA
LACMA
Eating Grass: Q&A with filmmaker Alia Syed September 26, 2012
Art Asia Pacific
Art Asia Pacific
Alia Syed: Materials for a Film September 2008
David Thorpe
David Thorpe
Alia Syed: A Story Told April 2006
Hayward Galleries
Hayward Galleries
Alia Syed in British Art Show 6 September 24, 2005 - January 8, 2006
The New York Times
The New York Times
Art in Review: (desi)re March 25, 2005
The New York Times
The New York Times
Art in Review: Alia Syed February 6, 2004
Art in Sight
Art in Sight
Alia Syed and Noski Deville March 2002
Iniva
Iniva
Alia Syed in conversation with Bruce Haines 2001