Lapa Steps - the red tiled steps

Trip Start Dec 07, 2010
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Trip End Jan 14, 2011


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Flag of Brazil  , Rio de Janeiro,
Thursday, December 9, 2010

In 1990 Escadaria Selarón began renovating a dilapidated steps that ran along the front of his house. At first, neighbours mocked him for his choice of colours as he covered the steps in fragments of blue, green and yellow tiles – the colours of the Brazilian flag. It started out as a side-project to his main passion, painting but soon became an obsession. He found he was constantly out of money so sold paintings to fund his work. It was long and exhaustive work but he continued on and eventually covered the entire set of steps in tiles, ceramics and mirrors.

Running from Rua Joaquim Silva and Rua Pinto Martins, the steps straddle both the
Lapa and Santa Teresa neighbourhoods in Rio de Janeiro. There are 250 steps measuring 125 metres long which are covered in over 2000 tiles collected from over 60 countries around the world. No sooner than one section of the steps are 'finished', Selarón starts work on another section, constantly changing it so that it is an ever evolving piece of art. Selarón considers the work as "never complete" and claims that "This crazy and unique dream will only end on the day of my death".

Originally, tiles for the work were scavenged from various construction sites and piles of urban waste found on the Rio streets. Today however, most of the tiles are donated by visitors from all around the world.

Of the 2000+ tiles, 300-odd are hand painted by Selarón depicting a pregnant African woman. Selarón doesn't comment on this except to say that it is a "Personal problem from my past".

Thanks Mr Wikipedia.

Besides the tiles, Escadaria is now selling paintings of pregnant African woman in black and red paint.

I suppose that he will expand his tile works to another street with the forthcoming 2016 Olympics Games like he did with Brasil's involvement and the 2010 football World Cup.

An observation was that the whole street was really clean.

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