Studios at Morro da Conceição

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Studios at Morro da Conceição. Photo: Marcelo Tabach / Diadorim Ideias
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With houses and lanes dating from the Portuguese Colonial Era, the Conceição Hill is a historical jewel within the heart of the old city center. The area, in the Mauá Square region, still displays traces of the Portuguese occupation in Rio de Janeiro, which dates from the 16h century. It is a lesser known cultural attraction: the artists living in the area are the ones who most profit from the architectural richness and the quietness of the region, hidden from sight by the tall buildings of Rio Branco Avenue.

Façades at Conceição Hill. Photo: Marcelo Tabach/Diadorim Ideias

At the João Homem Slope, which is one of the easiest options for climbing the hill, the Villa Olívia Artes can be seen. The building hosts an art gallery ? the first and only in the hill ? and the studio of artist Marcelo Frazão. Living for 17 years in the region, Marcelo does printing, painting and photography, and says he settled at Conceição Hill by "pure chance". "I could not find a house which pleased me in Santa Teresa. Now I wouldn't trade the hill for anything". 

Also at the João Homem Slope is the studio of artist Claudio Aun, inhabitant of Conceição Hill since the 1980s. "I was the one to gather the artists who today live and work in the hill" says Claudio, founder of Mauá Project, which, since 2002, organizes the opening of studios for visitors. "We are currently 15 artists among sculptors, painters, printmakers and installation artists", says the artist who is fascinated by the Surrealist movement.

A popular character in Conceição Hill, artist Paulo Dallier is a favorite among visitors of stairs and alleys in the area. "I am the door to the hill, my studio is always open to visitors", says the 80-year-old painter  whose style combines German Abstract Expressionism and French Fauvism. Paulo grew up in the hill and after 50 years away from it, he decided to come back permanently, in the late 1990s. "My first childhood memory is of me playing wheelbarrow through these streets". 

A novice among the experienced artists, young Adrianna Eu fell in love with Conceição Hill after being invited for an artistic intervention in 2008. "The most charming feature is not the façades of the houses, but the history of the people who preserved this place" says Adrianna, represented by the contemporary art gallery Inox. "To live here is more than to be here. It is to belong here, which is why I participate in the making of the flower carpet during the procession of Our Lady of Conception and why I offer workshops of urban intervention for residents". 

Conceição Hill also offers other charming attractions such as the Jardim Suspenso do Valongo (Valongo Hanging Garden), the Pedra do Sal, the Pretos Novos Cemetery, the Conceição Episcopal Palace, the Conceição Fortress, the Saint Francis of Prainha Church. It is a visit best made on foot.

General Information

Address: João Homem Slope, Saúde
Phone: (+55 21) 98888-2613 (Villa Olívia Studio)/ 2253-1474 (Claudio Aun Studio) / 2263-4663 (Paulo Dallier Studio)

Secretaria de Cultura do Estado do Rio de Janeiro Petrobras

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