31st Helsinki Comics Festival
2–4 Sep 2016
Themes: France, journey, hip hop
Festival art by: Kaisa Leka
Comics Ahoy! Bandes Dessinées en vue! Sarjakuvia näkyvissä!
The 31st Helsinki Comics Festival takes place at Kansalaistori, right in central Helsinki. It is the largest comics event in Northern Europe. The festival is free of charge and the programme consists of interviews, lectures, discussions, exhibitions, workshops, performances, competitions, signings, street food and evening events.
The festival themes this year are France, hip hop and journey. The themes are explored in the works of many of the guests and in the artistic style of the festival, but there are also many artist guests who work outside these themes.
France is a natural choice for a theme as so many great pieces of comic art come from there. The Helsinki Comics Festival is lucky to have so many guests of honor from France: Jochen Gerner, best known for his TNT en Amérique, satirizing Hergé’s most famous Tintin album; Florent Ruppert, famous for his collaborative works with Jérôme Mulot; and Marguerite Abouet, whose Aya of Yop City sheds light on life in Africa which is more full of life and hope than Western media usually lets on.
The hip hop theme can be seen of course in Ed Piskor’s most notable work, Hip Hop Family Tree, of which he holds a discussion and an exhibition. Further, the festival has a patron for the first time in its history: The Finnish rap artist Paleface, whose interview can be found in the festival catalogue. Also, artists from all over Finland have collaborated in the Straight Outta Fiction exhibition (Hakasalmen huvila, Mannerheimintie 13b) which shows comics in LP cover size.
We also embark on many strange and magnificent journeys at the Helsinki Comics Festival. Our festival artist Kaisa Leka's exhibition in Art Kaarisilta consists of postcard comics she and her husband sent from their journey through the USA. Paula Bulling’s graphic novel Im Land der Frühaufsteher discusses the refugee situation in Germany with a keen and vivid manner.
Kansalaistori is located between Musiikkitalo – the Helsinki Music Centre – and the Kiasma Museum of Cotemporary Art. You can easily access the venue by walking from the main Railway station or from the Kamppi bus station. Several trams also stop at Rautatieasema (9, 6, 3) and at the nearest tram stop, Lasipalatsi (7, 4, 10).
Helsinki Comics Festival doesn’t only have program at Kansalaistori, but is spread across Helsinki. You can find all the exhibitions and their opening hours from here: http://sarjakuvafestivaalit.fi/naeyttelyt
After a long day of comics, remember to check out the festival evening clubs! On Thursday, there are two: One in Itäkeskus (Culture Center Stoa, Turunlinnantie 1), starting at 19:30 with Ed Piskor’s interview and continues with a rap gig from Dxxxa D & Hzzzt. Another Thursday club is at Ravintola Kaisaniemi from 21:00 to 02:00.
On Friday, celebrations continue at Gastro Café Kallio at Kansalaistori, from 19:00 to 22:00.
Saturday’s club event is at bar Dubrovnik from 21:00 to 03:00.
And on Sunday, this awesome festival is wrapped up again at Gastro Café Kallio.
The Helsinki Comics Festival has interesting guests coming from all over the world. While many talks and lectures are in Finnish, most international guests are interviewed in English. Our honored guests include Ed Piskor (US) whose Hip Hop Family Tree has won an Eisner-award, Alan Davis (UK) is best known for his work on Captain Britain, The Uncanny X-Men and ClanDestine, and Simon Hanselmann (AUS) is a New York Times Bestselling cartoonist whose Megahex is a fantastically weird comic.
The stage program can be found here.
Helsinki Comics Festival is organised by Finnish Comics Society.
For more information, please contact:
Kalle Hakkola, artistic director
Onni Mustonen, international coordinator
Kaisa Leino, producer
Photos: Jussi Pakkanen, Aino Sutinen
Finnish Comics Society / Sarjakuvakeskus / Comics Center