Syed’s On a Wing and a Prayer is a film inspired by the story of Abdul Rahman Haroun, who walked through the channel tunnel on 17th August 2015. Mr Haroun was held on remand for 5 months at Elmley Prison. He has since been released and granted Asylum but has a criminal record for illegal entry into the United Kingdom.The film is an imaginative response to Mr Haroun’s journey achieved through Syed filming her own walk through the surreal subterranean world of the Rotherhithe Tunnel. A screening of Alia’s films followed by a seminar related to ‘On a Wing and a Prayer’ took place 14:30 – 18:00 on Wednesday 15 March 2017. Alia’s films was also screened throughout the week of the Who Are We? project.
Alia Syed was born in 1964 in Swansea, Wales and lives between London and Glasgow. She has been making experimental films for over 25 years, Syed’s films have been shown at numerous institutions around the world including BBC Arts Online (currently), 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); Iniva, London (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.
Recent works combine her interest in storytelling with a compelling presentation of history as a visual narrative. Her unique approach sutures different subjective positions in relation to culture, diaspora, and location.