A trio of statues created in tribute to three late hip-hop artists who originated from New York City and went on to achieve fame as pioneers within the genre will soon live at the public library in each of their home borough of Queens.
According to reports shared on Thursday, artist Sherwin Banfield‘s three sculptures known as “A Cypher in Queens,” which portrays Run DMC’s Jam Master Jay, A Tribe Called Quest’s Malik “Phife Dawg” Taylor, and Mobb Deep’s Albert “Prodigy” Johnson, will soon move to the Queens Public Library in the Jamaica neighborhood of the NYC borough beginning on September 19th. The nine-foot-tall sculptures showcase the facial busts of all three men, which sit atop recreations of stacked speaker boxes and the tall wooden musical instrument found within the Pacific islands called a “Slit Gong.”
The sculptures initially debuted at Socrates Sculpture Park in nearby Long Island City, Queens in 2018.
Banfield had chosen to create impressive tributes to the three late artists based on their unique style, musical delivery, and individuality in both poetic and sonic expression.
“I am crazy excited to personally introduce my sculptures and to hear the response from library visitors and the community at large because this will be something they’ve never seen before,” Banfield said in a statement to go with the announcement. “These legends of hip-hop left a mark on my life and countless others around the world, and to bring sculptural representations of them to a great institution such as the Queens Public Library, where they can be studied, debated and reflected upon, allows their legacy to be further cemented in Queens history. It’s about preserving hip-hop history, and I’m trying to introduce sculpture as an alternative medium for hip-hop preservation.”
The decision to house the three beautiful sculptures at the Library was partially made by Queens Public Library’s Hip-Hop Coordinator Ralph McDaniels, who also added, “We’re celebrating 50 years of hip-hop in three years, and it is not only a tribute to the artists, but gives fans sense of connecting with their favorite music and artists, and those who don’t know them can get a chance to learn.”
The official unveiling of the sculptures’ arrival to the Library will take place on September 19th at 3 p.m. The event will be followed by a ceremony beginning at 6 p.m. and will feature live music from Jam Master Jay’s son DJ Jason Mizell Jr. and spoken word from Phife Dawg’s mother, Cheryl Boyce-Taylor.
The report goes on to state that McDaniels and the Library will also offer a sculpture class featuring Banfield in addition to a hip-hop health program. Head to the Queens Library website for more information.
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Deinstallation continues. Looking back I can’t believe I was able to create these monuments in such a short time.. never doubt yourself or listen to the nay-sayers! Put your mind to it and get to work! Harlan the Homie helping me deinstall said to me yesterday ‘we are not human-thinkers, we are human-beings” stop thinking about it and do it, become it! #hiphop
[H/T AM New York]