Annabel Nicholson, UK 1970, 10 min, no dialogue, 16mm
Alia Syed, UK 1992, 21 min, Urdu & English language, 16mm
Alia Syed, UK 2003, 23 min, Urdu & English language, 16mm
Alia Syed, UK 2012, 11 min, no dialogue, 16mm
The title of Alia Syed’s Eating Grass is a reference made to the term used by Pakistan’s President, Zulfikar Ali Bhutto in 1974 in the middle of the nuclear arms race with India that ironically prioritized the military ambitions of the state above the basic wellbeing of an impoverished population, a perennial paradox that confronts many postcolonial nations. Like much of Syed’s work, this film, which is shot in Karachi and London, channels poetic and impressionistic forms to deal with the daily reality of post migrant lives. Screened alongside Nicholson’s delicate Anju, which in its fine detail brings to mind Indian miniature painting, Syed’s films negotiate questions of identity, memory and belonging.
Alia Syed has been making experimental films in Britain for over 25 years. She is interested in how subjectivities are produced through culture, diaspora and location. Her work interrogates the protean nature of self-narration, enfolding fact and fiction, present and past, how histories are made and unmade.