Ibrahim El-Salahi Untitled from Prison Notebook 1976

  • MoMA, Floor 4, 420 The David Geffen Galleries

And I saw the face,

Beaming with warmhearted hope,

Luminous, in perfect proportions,

Radiant forehead,

His head on his wife’s lap,

Sprinkling water on his head.

Despite his agony, writhing in the throes of death,

He smiled when he saw me.

I forgot all about death, obliviousness, and incarceration.

Ibrahim El-Salahi: Jail is what is accepted by oneself. There are different ways that a person can accept what is happening to him or to her. If you accept it for yourself, you are imprisoning yourself. But you can be free. If you are imprisoned not by yourself but by other people, there will be a time when everything will vanish.

Publication excerpt from Ibrahim El-Salahi. Prison Notebook, 1976. The Museum of Modern Art, New York, 2018.
Medium
Ink on paper from a notebook with thirty-eight ink on paper drawings
Dimensions
11 1/4 × 6 5/8" (28.6 × 16.8 cm)
Credit
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
319.2017.30
Copyright
© 2020 Ibrahim El-Salahi / Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York / DACS, London
Associated work
Prison Notebook
Department
Drawings and Prints
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