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.”
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.