Film still, Priya, 2011
16 mm film, color, silent, duration: 13 minutes, loop
Alia Syed lives and works between London and Glasgow, UK.
Syed is an experimental film-maker. Priya is a 16mm, silent film of Priya Pawar, a traditional Indian dancer, dancing the steps of Kathak, shot by positioning the camera directly above the dancer’s head. In the telling of the story the work also becomes an encounter between two artists and two storytellers.
Syed buried the film for a year and half in her garden, mixed with composted materials, debris and organic refuse. The humidity attacking the layer of emulsion produces an unexpected result of colors and stains. Using this technique, the footage of the body of the dancer is disfigured and disrupted. In this process, the film’s ability as a physical material to become an indexical trace of time passing, becomes manifest through biodegradation
Syed’s most recent films were shown at the Whitechapel Gallery (2017), Antwerp Art Weekend (2017), Tate Britain (2016), Tate Modern (2016), BBC Arts Online, Los Angeles County Museum of Art (2012-13), 5th Moscow Biennale, Museum of Modern Art, New York (2010). She is represented by Talwar Gallery.
Artwork courtesy: Talwar Gallery