International artists Aether & Hemera reimagine Crocus Valley for Croydon Heritage Festival 2017

A colourful artwork, Crocus Valley by Aether & Hemera, will transform Croydon’s busiest shopping streets during Croydon Heritage Festival 2017, celebrating a coming together of the borough’s early and recent history.

It is thought that Croydon might take its name from the Anglo Saxon words ‘Croh-Denu’, meaning ‘valley of the crocus’. This name would suggest that the Romans farmed crocus flowers in Croydon for their saffron – a valuable spice used in food before the arrival of the Saxons.

Aether & Hemera’s artwork, a canopy of colourful origami crocus flowers, will be installed in the bell mouth of North End in time for the opening of Croydon Heritage Festival on 24 June. Artists Gloria and Claudio have visited Croydon several times, including a fascinating trip to Saffron Central to help develop their artwork.

On Croydon Heritage Day, Saturday 24 June, origami flower workshops for children will take place in the Whitgift Shopping Centre, while crocus corms from Croydon Saffron Central, an award winning community garden, will be distributed to members of the public to take home and plant in their own gardens. When these flower in the autumn they will create a new crocus valley across the borough.


Aether & Hemera, artists Gloria Ronchi and Claudio Benghi:
“For us, origami is a metaphor of hope, transformation and evolution. One flat sheet can be transformed into almost anything. We hope that our Crocus Valley will enchant and inspire creativity in people of all ages in Croydon.”

Matthew Sims, CEO of Croydon Business Improvement District:
“On behalf of the business community, Croydon BID is proud to support this wonderful public artwork for Croydon Heritage Festival. The Crocus installation will offer a splash of summer colour to North End and will undoubtedly provide a great opportunity for residents, visitors and businesses to reflect on our history, but look forward as Croydon evolves.”

Ally McKinlay, founder of Croydon Saffron Central:
“Supporters of Croydon Saffron Central will take great delight in seeing Croydon’s flower elevated to new heights and shared in such a popular space. We’re very fond of this beautiful flower and hope many more will love how it connects the community through our town’s name.”

Paula Murray, creative director for Croydon Council:
“The is the first artwork of its kind in Croydon and we are thrilled to be hosting these international artists and their contribution to the creativity of the Borough. There is so much to celebrate in Croydon and Crocus Valley highlights two wonderful events at either end of our town’s history – the earliest Roman settlements and the recent community endeavour of volunteers at Croydon Saffron Central. I hope that it inspires many more.”


Tag social media posts of the installation, your own origami crocus or your planted corms #CroydonHeritage and #CroydonCrocus

Crocus Valley is supported by Croydon BID

Image: Judith Doyle via Flickr under Creative Commons