Title: Still Alive: Notes from Australia’s Immigration System: NSW Premiers Literary Award 2022
Author: SAFDAR AHMED
Publishing status: Active
Still alive documents the conditions, experiences and deprivations of Australia’s system of mandatory and indefinite detention for asylum seekers and refugees. Drawing from Safdar Ahmed’s experiences as a volunteer in Sydney’s Villawood detention centre, it contains the testimony of refugees and workers in a system that is often decried by human rights organisations for its cruelty. This is a work of observation and collaboration, collating Ahmed’s experiences as an art workshop facilitator with the testimony and artwork of refugees who are held in immigration detention. Still Alive eschews stereotypical representations of the refugee as either a threat to Australia’s system of ‘border protection’, or as a victim who lacks initiative and agency. What emerges is a deeply impacting account of the refugee journey and the profound consequences of indefinite incarceration that asylum seekers experience upon reaching Australia.