Ibrahim El-Salahi Untitled from Prison Notebook 1976

  • Not on view

When light was veiled,

And the latch of silence reigned over thought and melody,

When rock sprouted to the sky,

And the exit door was blocked,

That day was the beginning.

It was when the earth erupted and discharged its burdens,

When place and time loosened their grip on things,

And the uncertainty arrow darted toward the forehead,

And hit a head behind the forehead.

On that day, all disguises and veils were torn,

Our old face mask cracked,

The vault ceiling fractured,

The wrinkles of the innermost depths were exposed,

As were the groves of the long-buried longing,

The graves threw up the coffins of the sleepers.

Let the curtains go down.

Let the mute, the muffled speak up.

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 3/4" (28.6 × 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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