Stairway to heaven
Sasha Naod meets an artist taking steps to pay tribute to his adopted hometown of Rio.
By night, Rio de Janeiro’s Lapa district has a reputation. On Friday and Saturday – after 11pm to be exact – the artisan neighbourhood descends into a denizen of sex, drugs and samba. Yet despite the frequent armed police raids and the odd fist-fight, Lapa’s ornate stairway and the street below it attracts hundreds of motley revellers all keen for a puff of Brazilian party spirit. In fact, so enamoured was hip-hop superstar Snoop Dogg when he sniffed out Lapa on one holiday, that he came back to film scenes of his ‘Beautiful’ music video here.
By day, however, Lapa shows no hint of its moonlighting alter-ego. Instead, it is the kind of community where bored and curious neighbours still peer out of windows at the passing tourists, only to disappear behind curtains once they’ve been spotted. By now, they’re probably also used to seeing their most well-known resident standing outside having his photo taken, and chatting to strange-looking estrangeiros – Portuguese for foreigner.
The resident in question is the artist known as Selaron, whose home is perched mid-way up a flight of the most awe-inspiring public stairs you’ve ever seen. These are ‘Selaron’s stairs,’ as they have come to be known. To find the man behind them, you’ll need to ask the locals. They all point in the same direction – to number 24, a ramshackle building which is the artist’s home.
Emerging from his front door, Selaron is every bit as parched and weathered as the building he lives in, and with good reason. A true eccentric, for the last 14 years he has been engaged in what is possibly the longest-running, most organic decorative art project in the world. Read More Here…
O Vermelho de Selarón (The Selarón Stairway)
by Rodolfo Gomes
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Since 1990, the Chilean artist Jorge Selarón does painting and art tiling works in a stairway in the heart of the historical disctricts of Lapa and Santa Teresa, in Rio de Janeiro. Nowadays, the work called “The Selarón Stairway” is visited by thousands of people and became famous world-widely.
Direction, screenplay and edition – Rafael Bacelar / Rodolfo Gomes
Photography – Chico Rufino
Production – Laila Valois / Rômulo André Lima
Music – Pedro David
If you would like to make a donation to Selaron’s staircase, send your tiles to:
Selaron (Pinto Chileno)
Escadaria Selaron, No. 24
CEP 20241-120 Santa Tereza
Rio de Janeiro Brazil