Street Art: Escadaria Selaron

IMG_9837Considered the biggest outdoor sculpture done by one single man, this stairway known as Escadaria Selaron (Selaron’s Steps), carries the name of its creator.

Jorge Selaron born in Chile in 1947, he worked and traveled over 50 countries until he decided to settle in Rio de Janeiro in the 80’s. He chose the bohemian and artsy neighborhood of Santa Teresa where he spent the rest of his life. As an artist who survived on sales of his paintings from bar to bar and restaurant tables he hardly made enough money to pay for his own bills.

His idea of beautifying the neighborhood became a work of love that lasted over 20 years. With 250 steps and over 2,000 tiles he proclaimed that his work would only end when his life ended. Selaron used tiles that he had collected from travels around the world and from friends or any people who wanted to donate them as gift to his art. He was a compulsive and passionate artist who produced over 25,000 paintings of the same African pregnant woman. He explained it as a matter of the heart. When not painting he was working on this stairway.

Santa Teresa is a small mountain in the center of Rio de Janeiro which you can access the very top by many small streets. One way to get there is by this stairway where Seladon’s home was located. His art and his life ended in January of 2013 when his body was found at the base of the steps with signs of suicide. Maybe his soul took these same steps on his way to heaven? Maybe he goes up and down at night when no one is watching? What lives here now is the memory of the artist and the strong colors of his tiles. Passion, art, love, work, life and death… All in display here.

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