Artist Fellow, 2023

Kal-El Carey

Kal-El Carey is an African American Transmale who is currently incarcerated in a Pennsylvania women’s state prison. He has trademarked his own brand and artistic style called, “Z-Coded.” Z-coded is a medical and/or mental health prison code that describes an inmate which the state deems too dangerous or mentally unstable to be housed with any other state prisoner for their or another’s safety. To those incarcerated, it’s just another oppressive mechanism used by the DOC to silence those within the system believed to be different from what their version of society labels as “normal.” Basically, Z-coding is taking something normalized and making it different. His purpose in his art is to show that different is also beautiful.

Artwork pictured: transzending by Kal-El Carey

An image of Kal-El's art piece entitled "transzending." It consists of the trans symbol over a rainbow striped background. Within the outlines of the trans symbol is a light blue and pink background, featuring multiple faces with various expressions.