Selaron Steps

Rio de Janeiro, Brazil


Doni Clemons

The Escadaria Selarón (Staircase of Selarón) is like a ceramic quilt that connects the neighborhood of Santa Teresa to Lapa, close to the city's center. When the artist that created the colorful stairs , Jorge Selarón, initially came to Brazil he moved into a home adjacent to the stairs. During this time, around the early 90s, the stairs were completely dilapidated. Selarón spent all of his money and went broke in the process of transforming the stairs into what they are today, a vibrant hodgepodge of different tiles affixed to the steps and the railing of the steps. The artist's personality was just as eccentric and striking as the stairs he created. He was the the type of person that never met a stranger and was happy to converse with the numerous pedestrians that used the stairs to get to and from Lapa. As his neighbors and travelers began to see the work he was creating, people began to show support by bringing tiles from all over the world for the artist to add to the steps. He was quoted as saying,"Behind every tile is a story. I had over 4,000 tiles placed on these stairs since I started, I have over 4,000 stories I could tell you."Sadly, Selarón died literally on the stairs a few years ago at the age of 65.


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