Indepth Arts News: |
"Jigar: Films by Alia Syed"
2002-02-01 until 2002-03-10
New Art Gallery, Walsall
UK United Kingdom
Jigar: derived from the Urdu word for friend or lover.
Jigar brings together a significant body of work, made over the past
fifteen years, by one of today's foremost British Asian artists.
Alia Syed's work embraces a wide range of film practices, refusing to
sit in a single, definable form. Classic feminist agendas, issues of
representation, fragmented narratives and the urban landscape play
alongside Syed's unpretentious celebration of sound and image.
Syed places allegory at the forefront of her film language. Typically
using black and white 16mm film, Syed's elegiac works revel in
ambiguities of time and place. Spoken Diary (2001), which is being
re-made as a four-screen installation for The New Art Gallery Walsall,
tells the tale of two parallel journeys. A woman reflects through a
rainy London night, noting her thoughts as she is in transit. At the
same time, the film depicts a lover's journey of self-discovery,
accompanied by a poetic voiceover and intense soundtrack.
Frequently depicting the Pakistani and Bangladeshi communities of east
London, Syed tackles both personal and political issues of identity,
using a variety of narrative structures. Fatima's Letter (1994), showing
at TheSpace@inIVA in London, is a tale told in Urdu in the form of a
letter. Subtitles are provided, but they remain out of sync with the
film's narration. In distinction, Watershed (1995), and Swan (1989),
both screening at Walsall, respectively focus on latent and innate
sexuality. Leigh's Turnpike Gallery premieres a new work, Eating Grass,
which explores aspects of domestic life in Pakistan.
Jigar provides new contexts for Syed's work, outside the film festival
circuit in which she has become well known. Collaborating with a diverse
range of host venues, inIVA continues its support of emerging artists by
allowing Syed's practice to resonate with new physicalities and
JIGAR: FILMS BY ALIA SYED is the opening project for inIVA's 2002
Jubilee Season, a national programme of exhibitions and debates that
explores the re-emergence of political engagement within contemporary
visual art, and raises questions of internationalism in a British