While visiting Rio de Janiero, Brazil, I had the fortunate opportunity to see the infamous stairs known as “Escadaria Selarón“.
Jorge Selaron, a Chilean artist, began renovating the stairs outside his house in the Lapa neighborhood in 1990. He created a tile mosaic, turning the stairs into a beautiful work of art. The artwork continually evolves as Jorge has people send him tiles from all over the world which he replaces on a regular basis. I found tiles from Toronto, Bermuda and New York City to name a few.
The stairs have even garnered international acclaim and recognition. Selaron and his stairs have been in magazines, music videos, and more.
I had the extreme pleasure of meeting Selaron himself! He was wearing nothing but a pair of red shorts, red flips flops, and red floppy hat. He is very eccentric but so warm and friendly. He asked me where I was from and told me where I could find the tiles for Canada and Toronto.
He showed me his paintings (which he sells quite cheaply) and I bought one of a pregnant woman playing guitar. He signed the back of it and then posed for a few pictures with me. I can’t wait to display the picture on my wall!
I was really delighted by how welcoming he was to all of the tourists who come to meet him and see the stairs. The locals also seem to be enamored by him as well. When I returned to the hotel later on that day, the woman who worked at the front desk breathlessly asked me “Was he there? Did you meet Selaron?” When I said that I did, she sighed and told me how lucky I was.
I can’t disagree. This goes down as one of the best experiences of my trip and my ‘traveling career’ to date.