Day 3: Artists in Conversation


Sat 18 September 2021, 5:30-7:30pm
The Braggs lecture theatre, The Braggs Building, The University of Adelaide, Victoria Drive, Adelaide, South Australia

Cost: FREE (bookings essential)

Ariel Slamet Ries (VIC), Brenton E McKenna (WA) and Safdar Ahmed (NSW), with Georgina Chadderton (SA) (chair)

For the third day of Papercuts, join us for a conversation between three acclaimed Australian comic creators! Ariel, Brenton and Safdar’s books take readers to widely varied locations – from the magical world of Hyalin, to Broome in the late 1940s, to Australian immigration detention centres in the here and now. Despite the diverse settings and styles, the stories of these multi-award winning authors share common themes and messages.

Whether your tastes lean more towards high fantasy or investigative journalism, this panel promises an engaging discussion about the work, careers and techniques of our three guests. With their books receiving praise from the likes of Shaun Tan and Noelle Stevenson, this is a perfect opportunity to learn more about some of the creators currently reshaping Australian comics.

Come along and hear about each of their experiences working on long-form narratives that take years to create. Readers and aspiring comic creators alike are sure to leave this session inspired and impressed.

All three guests will be available to sign books after the panel, and will also have their work for sale thanks to Greenlight Comics.

Adelaide-based comic creator and Papercuts Comics Festival co-director Georgina Chadderton will chair the discussion.

This session will feature sign interpretation in Auslan, provided by Deaf Can Do.

To reserve your place at this event, please click here to book through Eventbrite.


Ariel Slamet Ries

Ariel Slamet Ries is a Naarm/Melbourne-born, Denmark-trained Australian-Indonesian comic artist and illustrator. They are best known for Witchy, a coming-of-age fantasy webcomic that won an Ignatz Award in 2020 for Outstanding Online Comic. Witchy is published in print by US publisher Lion Forge / Oni Press and online with support from US webcomic publisher Hiveworks Comics. Witchy was also nominated for the 2015 Ignatz for Outstanding Online Comic, the 2016 DINKy for Outstanding Web Comic, and the Danish “Pingprisen” for Best Online Series in 2017 and 2018.

Ariel studied animation at The Animation Workshop in Denmark for 4 years and is passionate about telling stories with marginalised folks at the centre, often with a fantasy or sci-fi twist. Beyond Witchy, which has been included on almost every ‘best of’ and ‘must-read’ list for LGBTQI+ inclusive webcomics, their other work as writer and artist includes Cry Wolf Girl (released by UK publisher ShortBox), which also received an Ignatz Award in 2020 for Outstanding Comic.

Brenton E McKenna

Brenton McKenna (also known by his alter ego and middle name, Ezsra) is a respected Yawuru artist and creative educator based out of Broome. As Australia’s first published Indigenous graphic novelist, his magnum opus consist of the three volumes in the Ubby’s Underdogs series: The Legend of the Phoenix Dragon, Heroes Beginnings and Return of the Dragons (all published by Magabala Books). The trilogy draws on a combination of his own childhood experiences, his grandmother’s stories about Broome, and the monsters and heroes that existed in his head.

Brenton’s other comics work includes illustrating Kid Phantom for Frew, and creating the daily newspaper comic strip Ole Champ for The West Australian. He has also contributed illustrations to books such as High Five to the Boys: A Celebration of Ace Australian Men (Random House Australia), Bold Tales for Brave-hearted Boys (Allen & Unwin) and Bush Holiday (Scholastic Australia). He has spoken at the US Library of Congress’ National Book Day Festival, The Edinburgh Fringe Festival, Bangalore Literature Festival and the Brisbane Writers Festival, among others.

Safdar Ahmed

Safdar Ahmed is a Sydney-based artist, musician and educator. He is a founding member of the community art organisation Refugee Art Project, and member of eleven, a collective of contemporary Muslim Australian artists, curators and writers. Safdar is the author of Reform and Modernity in Islam (IB Tauris, 2013) and the Walkley Award-winning documentary webcomic Villawood: Notes from an immigration detention centre (2015). That webcomic was expanded and adapted into the graphic novel Still Alive (2021), which is available through Twelve Panels Press.

Safdar’s other comics include the graphic memoirs The Good Son and My Struggle With Crohn’s Disease. His drawings and comics have appeared in such publications as Overland, Meanjin and The Lifted Brow. He also sings and plays guitar with the anti-racist death metal band Hazeen, alongside fellow comic artist Can Yalcinkaya.