Safdar Ahmed
Twelve Panels Press

Interweaving journalism, history and autobiography, Still Alive is an intensely personal indictment of Australia’s refugee detention policies and procedures. It is also a searching reflection on the redemptive power of art. And death metal.

Judges’ Comments

A confronting, raw and graphic account of the history and treatment of asylum seekers and refugees under successive Australian governments. Challenging, detailed and well-researched, powerfully produced from a personal perspective — journeys from their homelands and lived experiences are interspersed with history, news events, government policy and international human rights reports and reactions. The black and white drawings, well-integrated with the text, are detailed and the inclusion of artwork by the detainees is powerful. The language is direct, occasionally didactic, and emotive at times. Metaphors (written and drawn) such as monsters, knots and chess pieces are effective in representing the detainees’ stresses and traumas. There is mature content such as self-harm, executions, sexual intimacy and assault, both in written and drawn examples. The inclusion of further reading and actions will engage readers in exploring further.