Art, Culture, and Cuisine: Yinka Ilori’s George Takeover

In honour of Frieze London and Black History Month, Yinka Ilori has taken the artistic reins at George, a distinguished private members’ club nestled in the heart of Mayfair, London’s renowned art gallery district.

The British-Nigerian multi-disciplinary artist, designer, and entrepreneur presents a distinctive Murano glass sculpture, ‘One Life: Igbesi Aye Kan,’ as well as a vibrant dessert plate named ‘A Web Full of Love,’ both of which will grace the Club throughout Frieze and beyond.

Art, Culture, and Cuisine: Yinka Ilori's George Takeover

A Unique Glass Sculpture and a Dessert Plate Extravaganza

Commissioned by George, Yinka Ilori’s ‘One Life: Igbesi Aye Kan’ sculpture draws inspiration from his Nigerian heritage and the annual West African harvest celebrations. These joyous gatherings mark the culmination of a year’s toil, echoing with celebratory songs and the melodious twang of traditional instruments, as exuberantly dressed individuals come together to revel in their collective achievements.

The focal point of the sculpture is the Calabash tree, a symbol creatively utilised by West African cultures for millennia. When dried and hollowed out, the Calabash is transformed into versatile vessels, fishing floats, and musical instruments. Ilori’s glass sculpture, mirroring the Calabash’s form, pays homage to hard work, creativity, and the strength of the community.

Yinka Ilori eloquently expressed his sentiments, stating, “It’s an honour to partner with George during Frieze London and Black History Month, to celebrate not only the arts but Black culture, excellence, and the vibrant tapestry of creativity within our community. Art, I believe, possesses the power to unite, educate, and inspire, and through this collaboration, we aim to do just that by shining a light on the richness of our heritage.

The sculpture itself symbolises the celebration of people, culture, and the fruits of labour. It’s a testament to the dedication of individuals, be they artists, musicians, or social workers. Through this piece, I aim to delve into the profound connection between objects and our capacity to honour ourselves, our accomplishments, and our community.”

Art, Culture, and Cuisine: Yinka Ilori's George Takeover

In keeping with the theme, Ilori has exclusively crafted a dessert plate named ‘A Web Full of Love,’ adorned with plant motifs, hearts, and geometric shapes. In a delightful collaboration with The Birley Club‘s Executive Pastry Chef, they’ve created ‘The Dancing Heart,’ a heart-shaped chocolate dessert, rich in Nigerian flavours, including coconut parfait, plantain mousse, and chin chin shortbread. This delectable creation will be available for George Members and their guests to savour throughout Frieze week.

Yinka Ilori shared his enthusiasm, saying, “Through ‘A Web Full of Love,’ I sought to create a visual and culinary symphony that celebrates artistry and the rich fusion of cultures. Collaborating with George to complement this canvas was a harmonious dance of creativity and flavour. Infused with the essence of Nigeria’s diverse culinary heritage, this dessert is a celebration of love, culture, and the joy of taste, inviting all to partake in the dance. I’m immensely proud of this creation, and I eagerly await George members’ reactions.”

Art, Culture, and Cuisine: Yinka Ilori's George Takeover

Since its grand reopening in June 2023, George has been a sanctuary for artists, creatives, and innovators alike. The club’s walls are adorned with the masterpieces of renowned artists, including David Hockney, firmly establishing art as an integral part of its identity. Through this dynamic partnership that harmoniously melds craft and cuisine, Yinka Ilori and George aspire to inspire, educate, and pay homage to the enduring legacy of Black history and culture this October.

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