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Alia Syed

  • CountryUnited Kingdom
  • Born1964


Artist and filmmaker Alia Syed’s experimental films explore politics and life in multicultural societies; she experiments with non-linear and disjointed narratives, drawing inspiration from the philosophy of 1960s structural filmmaking.

In 2015, Iniva’s Stuart Hall Library hosted an exhibition of the work of Alia Syed and Nadia Perrotta called ‘Migration Dreams and Nightmares’ which responded to themes of migrant experience in John Berger’s, A Seventh Man (1973), a compilation of text by Berger and photography by Jean Mohr. To open the exhibition, a panel discussion between artists and academics was held in the Stuart Hall Library. Iniva has also screened a number of other films and shorts made by Syed including Fatima’s Letter, Eating Grass and The Watershed. Iniva’s 2002 ‘Jigar’ exhibition brought together a significant body of work produced by Syed over a period of fifteen years. Her work is also featured in Iniva’s 2004 publication, Changing States: Contemporary Art and Ideas in an Era of Globalisation edited by Gilane Tawadros.

Syed’s films have been shown at numerous other institutions around the world including the Whitechapel Gallery (2017); The Triangle Space: Chelsea College of Arts (2014); Los Angeles County Museum of Art (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); 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 studied Fine Art at The University of East London graduating in 1987, and then went on to study Mixed Media at postgraduate level at the Slade School of Art until 1992.

She lives between London and Glasgow.

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