Get excited – the latest drop from Yinka Ilori’s designer brand (Yinka Ilori Objects) is basketball-themed. It’s part of a collection called Ojukokoro, which dropped 30 October, and draws on Yinka’s experience growing up around the sport’s culture. Cartoons, another one of Yinka’s interests, has also been woven into the project. Stop motion animator Jon Frier has been brought on board to craft a short film; two kids are transported from the court into a fun textural world, complete with a beady-eyed, long-legged basketball.
“[I] started to pick up basketball during my lunch breaks at school”, Yinka tells us. “I came to realise how community-centric the sport is and how it’s an inclusive sport that can be played anywhere; with or without a traditional court. Looking back, it was important for me to lean into how the sport promotes togetherness and collaboration, and I found that coming together and working as a team was more important than winning the game.”
Rather than recording footage of actual basketball games to promote the collection, Yinka and Jon felt animation could highlight the community and stories it promotes. “Cartoons and animation are not only a large part of pop culture, but a great vehicle for expressing strong narratives and new ideas,” Jon says. Yinka’s signature palette has been translated with playful materials and patterns, and the Ojukokoro collection has been recreated in miniature.
Yinka also explains the meaning behind the title of the collection. “In Yoruba, ‘ojukokoro’ translates to ‘don’t be greedy’, and the vibrant eye design on my basketball references this. ‘Oju’ means eye and ‘kokoro’ means bug, suggesting that our eyes can be a driving force for greed.” With the collection, Yinka poses basketball in antithesis to self-interest and as a vehicle for connection.
Ojukokoro is available exclusively on the Yinka Ilori online shop; the first 200 bundles sold will include a limited-edition basketball signed by Yinka Ilori, plus a pump and tote. In 2024, more Yinka Ilori Objects collections are expected to drop, including textiles and ceramics.
Jon Frier: Yinka Ilori, Ojukokoro (Copyright © Yinka Ilori, 2023)
About the Author
Liz (she/they) joined It’s Nice That as news writer in December 2021. After graduating in Film from The University of Bristol, they worked freelance, writing for independent publications such as Little White Lies, INDIE magazine and design studio Evermade.