The public art of Escadaria Selarón

art and culture
The public art of Escadaria Selarón

The Selarón Steps in the Lapa and Santa Teresa neighbourhoods an ever-evolving art piece cut short by the mysterious death of the artist who created them.

This should not be missed: 215 steps linking the neighbourhoods of Lapa and Santa Teresa, covered with shards of tiles in blue, green and yellow the colours of the Brazilian flag and punctuated by red and white tiles and mirrors.

A stunning work of outsider art by the Chilean-born artist Jorge Selarón, they have become an emblem of Rio. Selarón arrived here penniless in the early 1980s and made a living through his paintings. But he soon became obsessed by a side-project, begun in 1990 the creation of his stairs. Sent to him by tourists who fell in love with the work, scavenged, or made by the artist, the tiles of the Escadaria Selarón now form part of an iconic tourist attraction, often compared to the mosaic works of Gaudí in Barcelona.

In 2013, Selarón was found dead on the steps, at the age of 65, thus bringing an end to his project, which he called a “tribute to the Brazilian people”.

Escadaria Selarón
Rua Joaquim Silva
Santa Teresa
Rio de Janeiro 20241-120