Countering the Jaggedness– Shabez Jamal and New Black Surrealisms

*This post is part of our New Black Surrealisms series organized by Tiffany E. Barber and Jerome Dent and features the work of artist Shabez Jamal.

Screenshot from Static Noise (Who She Think She Is) – Shabez Jamal

Donny Bradfield (b. 1992, St. Louis), better known as Shabez Jamal, is an interdisciplinary artist who embraces the soft, round, queer, Black figure to counter the jaggedness often associated with Blackness and masculinity. He uses archival materials, sound, and moving and still images to reclaim the fat Black form and to generate radically inclusive spaces. Queerness in his art is not only a means of speaking about sexuality; it is a catalyst for challenging varying power relations. For Jamal, focusing on fat, Black, queer, male-identified persons troubles Western aesthetic ideals when it comes to masculinity and the male form. This focus also raises questions about agency, ownership, identity, and belonging. In pursuing these questions, Jamal radically redefines the parameters of racial and sexual identity. For more of Jamal’s work, visit


Static Noise (Who She Think She Is)

Untitled No. 1 (Construction of an American Boy) – Shabez Jamal


Sitting With The Burdens of Freedom

Untitled No. 2 (Construction of an American Boy) – Shabez Jamal


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