Talwar Gallery is pleased to announce the US premiere of Eating Grass, a new film work by Alia Syed. Eating Grass is a poetic and compelling new work from Alia Syed. Filmed in Lahore, Karachi and London and encompassing five stories relating to the times of day for Muslim prayer, the work explores overlaps between time, memory and location. The title of the work is a reference to a quote made by President Bhutto of Pakistan in 1974, who in response to India exploding a nuclear device promised the Pakistani people that they too would have their own nuclear weapon at all costs, even if it meant “Eating Grass”.
"Drops of water swell into abstract forms that increase in luminosity, until pure white light floods the screen. It may or may not be the equivalent of a blinding nuclear blast, but it is a logical and striking resolution to a film that filters a richly colored history through a visionary prism."
The New York Times
Moving through daily rituals inside the walls of a haveli in Pakistan to those of life outside, the film encapsulates the passage of time through the changing emotional tones of urban metropolitan rhythms. As the bustle of modern life outside parallels, and slowly transcends the changing nature of the day’s light, so Ms. Syed suggests it is possible for the spirit within to sublimate. The surreal nature of Syed’s work is accentuated by the accompanying voiceover in Urdu and English; its textural and out-of-sync pattern conveys meaning while at the same time building a rhythm of tonal cadences similar to structures found in Indian classical music or jazz.
Alia Syed’s work explores issues of identity and representation, often employing rhythmic and cyclical elements in which characters, places, text, images, and sound coincide with and at times oppose conventional narrative structures. Syed’s interest in time and memory is the basis for her storytelling, in which the personal reality is interwoven with the film’s narratives, ultimately creating a space for dialogue and reflection.