The Swiss comics scene may not be large, but it enjoys an excellent reputation. To nurture the scene’s significant potential in a targeted manner, Pro Helvetia initiated a pilot project for the funding of comics production in 2020. As a result, numerous promising and exceptional projects gained support during Corona pandemic times. In view of the great demand and the impressive quality of the dossiers submitted, Pro Helvetia has decided to turn the pilot project into an integral part of its cultural promotion work.
Creation grants were awarded to the following comics artists:
Peggy Adam, Geneva
Alex Baladi, Geneva
Lawrence Grimm, Zurich
Yannis La Macchia, Russin/GE
Jared Muralt, Berne
Lika Nüssli, St. Gallen
Thomas Ott, Zurich
Fanny Vaucher, Lausanne
Nando Von Arb, Zurich
Noémie Weber, St-Suplice-sur-Lèze (FR)
Tobias Aeschbacher, Biel/Bienne
Martin Panchaud, Zurich
Leonie Rösler, Zurich
Maeva Rubli, Basel
Daniela Rütimann, Zurich
Tom Tirabosco, Geneva
Camille Vallotton, Fribourg
Pierre Wazem, Carouge/GE
The numerous projects submitted in connection with Pro Helvetia’s pilot project launched in 2020 revealed the great potential of the Swiss comics and illustrators’ scene. Over 100 highly diverse dossiers, submitted in response to two calls for applications, were reviewed by a jury. On the basis of their quality in terms of content and design, 18 of the projects were selected and received a grant amounting to CHF 20,000 each.
Many of the projects and works submitted cast a critical eye on important and often controversial social issues. Among the topics touched on with considerable artistry are death and dying, the divide between generations, coping with chronic illness, and a childhood of indentured labour as a «Verdingkind». Several of the comics supported will already be completed by the end of 2021 and published in the course of 2022.
«The Swiss comics scene is characterised by extraordinary vitality and quality, and faces up to current social challenges with a great deal of creativity,»
says Reina Gehrig, Head of Literature at Pro Helvetia.
«Comics – also known as the ninth art – fascinate with their unique combination of stark images and clear words, and we, as a cultural promotion institution, look forward to making an active contribution to the further development of this art form.»
Switzerland has a highly diverse comics and illustrators’ scene, and its creativity and visibility is to be enhanced by new promotional measures. As a hybrid art form combining literature and drawing, comics often find themselves in a no-man’s land between these established categories and so miss out on support. Recently, artists from the Swiss comics scene have begun to forge links across the country’s linguistic borders. Pro Helvetia aims to make an active contribution towards establishing comics in Switzerland as a vibrant and independent art discipline.