Found Frame Works

Y. Malik Jalal’s wrought portraits of Black life

It could be said that Y. Malik Jalal, a sculptor from Savannah, Georgia, and a current MFA student at the Yale School of Art, creates “frame” works, fashioned from welded iron and car parts. Found family photographs, purchased by Jalal on eBay, stand at the center of each frame. The images range from candid to posed, somber to comical, secular to religious; collectively, they form a portrait of Black life in America.

Jalal works in the legacy of southern Black craftsmanship as well as the legacy of assemblage—where juxtaposed elements create new paradigms of seeing and thinking. Used rubber car mats become a surprisingly suitable frame, formally, into which Jalal inserts his images, responding to the object’s existing lines.

What does a frame do? It says Look here. In moving the car mat from its usual spot underfoot—where it is rarely remarked upon or closely observed—Jalal asks us to linger over it as frame. Questions of ownership, neglect, and reverence arise in what is contained—and in what contains it.


All images courtesy the artist and March Gallery.

The Posture of Repentance, 2022.
Bruh, it’s kids in here #2, 2022.
Bruh, it’s kids in here #1, 2022.
Memorial Day Weekend, 2022.
On the Surface of the Sun, 2021.
Almost burnt my lip #1, 2022.
Almost burnt my lip #2, 2022.
Madonna and Child, 2023.
Wrought and Searing #4, 2022.
Wrought and Searing #1, 2022.
Wrought and Searing #2, 2022.
Wrought and Searing #3, 2022.
Originally published:
September 18, 2023


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