BADIL Poster Contest - 2009 - Badr

Translation / Interpretation / Caption Text

Arabic translation:

(text to the left of the pen)


(white text at bottom)

And seeds from a withered ear
With wheat shall fill the valley


Curator's note: This is the last line of the Mahmoud Darwish poem "'An Insaan" (Arabic: On Man) from the collection "Awraaq Al-Zaytoun" (Arabic: Olive Leaves) published in 1964. The line refers to wheat plants sprouting from seeds that have dried and fallen to the ground.


A symbolic entanglement with trees, roots and the earth also envelops the key. In some instances the key substitutes as ‘roots’, such as in Mustafa Akram Badr’s 2012 prize-winning entry. This particular poster lines up a sequence of root systems. The top half portrays the sun beaming down on a field of plants; the bottom half depicts their roots beneath the surface. To the right is the natural root system for the adjoining plant. The middle inserts the shaft and blade of a key in place of the plant’s proper roots. This develops a metaphor for indigenous ancestry and ties to the land—in other words, Palestinian ‘roots’.



On Man

They gagged his mouth,
Bound his hands to the rock of the dead
And said: Murderer!
They took his food, clothes and banners,
Cast him into the condemned cell
And said: Thief!
They drove him away from every port,
Took his young sweetheart,
Then said: Refugee!

O you with bloodshot eyes and bloody hands,
Night is short-lived,
The detention room lasts not for ever,
Nor yet the links of chains.
Nero died, Rome did not:
With her very eyes she fights.
And seeds from a withered ear
With wheat shall fill the valley. 

Mahmoud Darwish