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Saturday, August 2, 2014


Stairs are artifacts that give us the impression we can overcome gravity. Stairs require us to have motivation, strength and a real purpose why we want to climb them. They are a symbol of life.

There are all types of stairs. For example, we have the ones that allow us to get to our homes in a colorful mood. The higher we climb, the better the view.

Copyright © 2014 Eduardo Sanzana, "Climbing the Colors", Valparaíso, Chile.

She faced the old gate leading to the stairs. She could feel the sound of the past. The Gardel's tango surfacing from an accordion made her melancholic. She imagined young women holding their long skirts while climbing the stairs. She could almost hear the clacking of their boots against the stone steps. It is 1927 and facing these stairs, she felt like an intruder from the future.

Copyright © 2014 Eduardo Sanzana, "Stairs to the Past", Valparaíso, Chile.

Santiago, the Capital of Chile, has a surrealistic old mountain in the center of downtown right between the skycrapers. Around this mountain, the Spanish conquerors founded the city of Santiago. For the Santiaguinos it is just a place to take a break after lunch in the old stone stairs...

Copyright © 2010 Nancy Barra, "Lunch Break", Cerro Santa Lucia, Santiago, Chile.

...or to kiss before going back to work...

Copyright © 2010 Nancy Barra "Lovers of Cerro Santa Lucía", Santiago, Chile.

Sometimes, we are too busy climbing towards a destination and we do not even realize the people who pass by us going down. Perhaps these people are in pain or distressed and they could appreciate our sympathy. Perhaps, the climbing was not what they dreamed and they return to firm land feeling lonely, sad and defeated. If we see them and pretend to ignore them, we excuse our indifference out of "respect for their privacy". Perhaps, this person going down needs to be consoled. However, we continue focused climbing towards, where? ... why?

Copyright 2014 Nancy Barra, "Stair of Indifference". Plaza Pisco Elqui, Chile.

It was a sunny day on the beach and while she was walking on the wharf, a young woman passed her by. "Why was she crying? What could have made her so sad?" she asked. Then, pretending to ignore her, she said to herself: "Well, it is not my problem" and continued walking towards the end of the dwarf as she intended.

Copyright © 2014 Nancy Barra, "Ocean Indifference", Oil on canvas 10" x 8.5", from:Nancy BarraContemporary Art/Arte Contemporáneo

Then, we have the "corporate ladder" that promises success, power and unlimited  stress to the climbers. He was so determined to climb it as high and fast as he could that he did not even realize that he missed a step and... Ooops! He fell down. Gravity won. Perhaps the "corporate ladder" was ill conceived. Yes, it was crooked to begin with.

Copyright © 2014 Nancy Barra, "The Crooked Corporate Ladder", Acrylic and Mixed media:bamboo,wood and strings,16" x 20", from:Nancy BarraContemporary Art/Arte Contemporáneo

Stone stairs in nature do not urge us to climb fast. They are the opposite of "corporate ladders". They invite us to go slowly, enjoy the surrounding and feel their uneven texture with our feet. They always lead us to a calm space, where we can just be, even if we go up or down.

Copyright © 2010 Nancy Barra, "Stairs to the Maya Garden", Montegrande, Chile.

Fortunately, as we get older and wiser, we realize that to continue climbing up does not make any sense, especially if the steps do not get us anywhere and our legs tremble by the effort. So we pause, sit down on the steps and enjoy the moment. We have finally arrived.

Copyright © 2014 Nancy Barra, "Ocean Bliss", Oil on canvas 

10" x 8.5", from: Nancy BarraContemporary Art/Arte Contemporáneo