Alia Syed was born in 1964 in Swansea, Wales and lives between London and Glasgow. She has been making experimental films in Britain for over 25 years.
Syed’s films have been shown at numerous institutions around the world including BBC Arts Online (currently), The Triangle Space: Chelsea College of Arts (2014), 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); Glasgow Museum of Modern Art, Scotland (2002); Iniva, London (2002); The New Art Gallery in Walsall (2002); and Tate Modern, London (2000). Syed’s films have also been the subject of several solo exhibitions at Talwar Gallery in New York and New Delhi.
Syed currently lectures in Photography and Fine Art at Southampton Solent University and University of Kent. She has also lectured at Chelsea School of Art, Glasgow School of Art and Central St. Martins, London. She is represented by Talwar Gallery in New York and New Delhi.
She has been recently nominated for the Jarman Award 2015.
Points of Departure (2014, 16’32”)
The objects and places we cannot leave behind create the tapestry that is Points of Departure.
Exploring themes of personal and collective memory through the artist’s relationship to the city of Glasgow, a voice over describes a tablecloth Alia retrieved whilst clearing her elderly father’s house.
The film attempts to unravel the threads of memory held within this mundane item and to find an image within the BBC archive that relates to Alia’s memories of growing up in Glasgow.
The artist’s father’s unrehearsed attempts to translate an Urdu Ghazal, discovered in the archive, a poetic expression of the beauty of love and the pain of loss exposes a process of translation that becomes the key allowing a path through the labyrinth of both her own memory and the BBC archive.