Imperial College Healthcare Charity Art Collection commissioned Riley, famed for her Op Art, to make the mural, her first for 27 years, for St Mary’s hospital in Paddington.
The work graces the 10th floor of the Queen Elizabeth the Queen Mother building, joining two others for the 8th and 9th floors completed by Riley more than 20 years ago.
The mural, which features her characteristic rhythmic stripes and bold colours painted directly on to the hospital walls, aims to transform the experience of the space for patients, staff and visitors.
Riley has created murals for major art institutions, including the Tate, the Musée D’Art Moderne de la Ville de Paris and the National Gallery, but none were permanent.
Riley, 82, said her hospital murals had different objectives to her other wall work. “The hospital corridors are different, they embrace the whole space: they aim to lift the spirits and to remind one of life outside the hospital.”
That her work was in the trauma unit meant a lot, she said. “It reminds patients that theirs is a transitory state, that they are there to recover and rejoin life – that life goes on, and life is outside, and they feel reassured.”