Ibrahim El-Salahi Untitled from Prison Notebook 1976

  • Not on view

His sweet memory flew like a breeze on the dusty face of the heat.

The soldiers came, broke the cell’s door.

With their cannon, they split open my chest in a horizontal line.

My blood sprinkled in every direction and every horizon.

They dragged my body through volcanic doors,

My shroud was white, red, white, red, white.

They took my body westward to the foreigners’ cemetery.

At sunset, they buried me in the foreigners’ earth.

My blood boiled up; I jumped, painlessly, in my grave.

The soldiers poured more earth,

Fought with cannons and machine guns.

My blood was unfaltering.

Over the river, at the bridge, my blood penetrated the soldiers’ lines.

It darted toward the cannon, toward the palace, through the cannon.

It rose from bare feet to the top.

In my blood, tyranny drowned.

As in my grave, I painlessly watched.

Ibrahim El-Salahi: This is what used to worry me enormously. These kinds of images of torture, of death, of blood, of earth, of being buried, of not being resurrected but getting out and moving, to fight as if my blood was going to take revenge on them.

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 1/8 × 6 3/4" (28.3 × 17.1 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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