Jam Master J, Phife Dawg, and Prodigy aren’t the only Queens rappers enshrined in their hometown. In a new bronze statue titled “Going Back to the Meadows” made by sculptor Sherwin Banfield, LL Cool J has been preserved in the likeness of his 1980s introductory era. Located in the middle of David Dinkins Circle in Flushing Meadows Corona Park, the statue has a solar-powered audio feature that plays music from noon to 5 PM weekly, excluding Tuesdays and Thursdays, according to TimeOut. The statue also has a pedestal frame with references to LL Cool J’s career.
The Trinidadian-born Banfield was raised in Queens, creating sculptures of Jam Master J, Phife Dawg and Prodigy for the Queens Public Library in 2019. In 2020, he began sculpting “Going Back to the Meadows” on Governor’s Island from September to December 2020 as part of the Governor’s Island Residency Initiative, in which he explained the process on Instagram.
“Using traditional techniques of modeling clay and a multitude of reference photographs, I created my artistic interpretation of LL, a collaboration of facial stages emerging from an anatomical foundation. Using my years of lessons in study of ancient Kemetic statues, Greco Roman and Italian Renaissance masters, I strived to model the essence, strength, fortitude, sensitivity and determination of LL into this portrait bust,” Banfield wrote. “Each application and modification of clay is a thought that accumulate to the finished portrait, like the selected notes of a musician that conclude to a song.. the final product is relatable and recognizable.. not a duplication of nature’s gift, but an interpretation.”
LL Cool J also posted the final piece on his Instagram, giving a nod to Banfield.
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