Artist bidding fond farewell to quirky landmark – Stevenage’s ‘sunflower house’

Gordana Bjelic-Rados is selling her well recognised house and moving away from the area.

Gordana Bjelic-Rados is selling her well recognised house and moving away from the area. - Credit: Archant

An artist who turned her home into a local landmark and attracted thousands of visitors by painting a bold sunflower mural on the outside is selling up.

An artist who turned her home into a local landmark and attracted thousands of visitors by painting a bold sunflower mural on the outside is selling up.

The home of Gordana Bjelic-Rados in Norton Green in Stevenage was destroyed by fire in 1990. Gordana said: “The fire gutted my home. I was doodling at the hotel I was staying in and a man at reception loved the doodles so much he bought them. That’s when art first came into my life.”

Gordana was determined to rise from the ashes and create a positive from the utter devastation the fire had caused.

When the house was eventually rebuilt, she painted a huge, bold sunflower mural on the outside of it in June 1997.


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Gordana said: “I did it because I wanted to make it special and I wanted to make people smile.

“I love sunflowers because they are bright, colourful and they follow the sun.”

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Snce then, more than 4,000 people have signed a visitors’ book, and the building serves as a landmark for hot air balloon enthusiasts. It even features in EasyJet’s magazine as a site of interest on the approach to Luton Airport.

She said: “I never thought it would create so much interest. I have made lots of friends and put a smile on people’s faces for free.”

Gordana, a social worker, is moving to Norfolk after taking a job there, and is bidding farewell to her quirky home.

The 58-year-old said: “It sold in five minutes and the buyers are going to keep the sunflowers. They are very enthusiastic about them.”

Gordana, who is dyslexic, has painted more than 4,000 paintings and says she loves art so much because “it cuts through language barriers and can bring communities together”.

Over the years she has worked with schools and brightened up run-down housing estates and dirty underpasses with uplifting murals.

Gordana said: “Everyone can paint, and the best artists are children.”

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