Ibrahim El-Salahi Untitled from Prison Notebook 1976

  • Not on view

No problem.

You are to be kept in custody.

And the law has just been modified to get rid of any loopholes,

To make room for greater opportunities for democracy.

Justice is guaranteed to all people.

Feel at home.

Go to the hospital.

Don’t worry at all.

There is nothing against you. Everybody knows that.

There is nothing against you at all.

It all boils down to . . . boils down to . . . down to . . .

That it’s a precautionary measure, a mere precautionary procedure,

Nothing more.

Precautionary measure.

There is a law in place that protects your rights.

There is no fear here. You don’t have to be frightened of anything.

Just a month, two months, three months And ten days, and it will automatically be renewed for another three months

And ten days, and so on and so forth. Some people had to stay behind bars for sixty-six months.

You should be thankful to Providence that you’re still at the very beginning of the road.

Be relaxed. Your body needs to be relaxed. Stretch your body a little. Your rights are sacred, protected. No problem whatsoever.

Ibrahim El-Salahi: At the beginning of every month, the director general of Sudan prisons used to come to check in on us. He always asked, “Is everything all right? Nothing wrong?” And we all had to answer, “No problem at all. Everything is all right, your Excellency!” You hear yourself saying these things, and you can’t remember your own voice because you are saying them out of routine, which, by taking your initiative from you, forces you into acting in a way that is foreign to your own self.

Publication excerpt from Ibrahim El-Salahi. Prison Notebook, 1976. The Museum of Modern Art, New York, 2018.
Ink on paper from a notebook with thirty-eight ink on paper drawings
11 1/4 × 6 5/8" (28.6 × 16.8 cm)
Acquired through the generosity of Marlene Hess and James D. Zirin, Catie and Donald Marron, Alice and Tom Tisch (in honor of Christophe Cherix), Marnie Pillsbury and Committee on Drawings and Prints Fund
Object number
© 2021 Ibrahim El-Salahi / Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York / DACS, London
Associated work
Prison Notebook
Drawings and Prints

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