Iconic British artist Yinka Ilori designs Canary Wharf’s first ever basketball court


World renowned artist, Yinka Ilori, is set to transform Bank Street Park in Canary Wharf, with a colourful and captivating basketball court. Unique to the Estate, the space will exert a mesmerising display of colours and striking patterns when it launches free to the public later this month.

The basketball court is the first of its kind to open at Canary Wharf and has been specifically designed for the 3×3 style of play, where three on each side compete using just one basketball hoop. Players are welcomed to free throw and swish whilst surrounded by the artist’s recognisable and colour-obsessed style, that will cover the entirety of the court’s surface and surrounding walls.

With the theme ‘be the best you can be’, the creative court has been designed to inspire visitors with a sense of hope and optimism as the nation begins to emerge from a very challenging year.

Fusing his British and Nigerian heritage, Yinka tells a beautiful story of contemporary design and vibrancy with this playful and eye-catching installation. The internationally commended artist believes that design and architecture should be for everyone, and this inclusive and interactive artwork is the perfect example of this belief in practice.

The creative works of Yinka add to Canary Wharf’s ever-growing portfolio of public art that now features over 75 permanent works by over 50 world-renowned artists and crafts people. The showcase is one of the UK’s largest collections of public art and is all free to enjoy in the calming green spaces on the Estate.

A series of additional activities will be hosted at the court throughout the summer months, including tournaments, classes, and events. A charity event will also be run in August with well-known basketball coach, Gary Maitland, in partnership with AFK – a charity that supports disabled children and young people.

The court adds to the range of open-air spaces in which visitors can enjoy themselves in a covid-secure environment at Canary Wharf. The opening also coincides with a wider summer events programme, where the Estate will be brimming with sport, music, art, and a family festival, throughout the warmer months.

Lucie Moore, Group Arts+Events Manager at Canary Wharf Group said: “We are absolutely thrilled to work with Yinka Illori, whose British and Nigerian heritage really shines through this beautiful work and message behind it.

We can’t wait to see people using the court and enjoying the outdoor space. We hope the theme of ‘being the best you can be’ inspires and encourages everyone who comes to visit.”

Yinka Ilori said: “I have loved this project because this is my first ever basketball court. I wanted to give people a space they can come and just enjoy being outdoors and being together again. I love that its free to use, creating a feeling of inclusivity and giving somewhere for community to get together.

I feel like my project is part of the new Canary Wharf challenging any perceptions of what people might have once had of the area. It is a place that people can live, work, and enjoy whilst experiencing a great fusion of different cultures. I can’t wait to see people using and enjoying the court!”