Entering Rio de
Janeiro at night is deceiving. The vibrant city is gorgeous after dark but its
spirit is muted. During the day in the Centro and Southern (Zona Sul)
neighborhoods, color and pattern are everywhere, from bright clothing and
rhinestones embellishments, to sidewalks along the beaches with their
undulating stonework and the iconic, stone pinnacles covered in lush greens
that soar above the bays. A gallery of murals and tile work really gets to the
heart of the city. Rio’s walls tell startling stories. For the uninitiated it’s
a surprise. While most urban areas spend millions to remove graffiti, Brazil
has elevated it to a completely different level.
passed a law in 2009 that made street art and graffiti legal if done with the
consent of building owners. It sounds progressive but may have been the best
way to handle a movement that showed no signs of abating. Ten years earlier,
Rio brought together 35 graffiti artists to showcase their local styles for the
1999 “Nao pixe, grafite” (Don’t tag, Graffiti) project. Currently the city’s proudest
graffiti artists sign their work or add Facebook sites.
murals and small illustrations pepper neighborhoods. Rio’s urban art can
transform them as well. Such is the case with the Chilean tile artist and
painter, Jorge Selaron, who took a staircase straddling the Lama and Santa
Teresa districts and turned it from a dodgy district into a treasured site and
subsequent tourist destination.
After making Rio
his home, Selaron lived adjacent to the stairs and began scavenging tiles from
construction sites and refuse. Soon he was tirelessly embellishing the steps
and walls between Joaquim Silva and Pinto Martins Streets. First ridiculed, his
vision soon had people donating tiles from around the world and he also added
several featuring his most famous icon – an image with his face and handlebar
mustache attached to a pregnant woman’s torso.
Today tour buses
and visitor maps bring crowds to the Escadaria Selaron, the Selaron Stairs, daily.
It’s also been featured in music videos by the likes of Snoop Dogg and U2, on
hundreds of Instagram and Facebook albums and a thousand different places. If
you go, save a few minutes to hike the full length of the stairs, which have been
made into an impromptu shrine to the artist who died under suspicious
circumstances in 2013 and was made an honorary Rio resident or Carioca.
Where is your favorite piece of street art?
Note: Available plans and coverages may have changed since this blog was published.
Volcanic eruptions are natural disasters that may be covered events under Arch RoamRight travel protection plans. From minor disruptions to catastrophic events, volcanos can affect travelers around the world.
Elaine is constantly in motion. She's called most of the major cities along the U.S. west coast home and travels or scuba dives as often as possible (Her latest passport is almost out ofpages.) The one constant has been writing and she's contributedto numerous publications and blogs as well as her own,TripWellness.com. Flytime Yoga was founded through her yoga practice, including a session at 30,000 feet on a dive trip flight to Fiji. Her Indie Excellence award-winning Drivetime Yoga techniques have helped RV and bus drivers, police officers andother travelers get where they're going feeling great atDrivetimeYoga.com. She podcastsThe Gathering Roadweekly and brings authors and experts together with travelers at monthlyTravel Well meetupsin San Diego. Follow Elaine onLinkedIn,Pinterest,Facebook,TwitterandGoogle Plus.
Travel smarter with travel insurance from RoamRight. Get your free, no-obligation quote online today.
View all Blog Authors
View Countries with Blogs
Sign up for RoamRight's FREE monthly email newsletter to get travel tips, tricks, news, ideas, and inspiration!
The RoamRight mark is used by Arch Insurance Company and owned by its parent company, Arch Capital Group (U.S.). All insurance products are offered and underwritten by Arch Insurance Company. The term "Partner", as used on this website refers to any unaffiliated third party entity that may offer or disseminate Arch RoamRight travel insurance. The term has no legal meaning whatsoever and Arch RoamRight hereby disclaims any such legal meaning that may be ascribed to it. Click here for privacy notice.
Copyright© 2021 Arch Insurance Company. All rights reserved.