TAIPEI (Taiwan News) — The Rainbow Village (彩虹眷村) in Taichung City, central Taiwan, has attracted international media’s attention, and the recent report by BBC is a case in point.
The Rainbow Village, an outmoded veterans’ settlement located in the city’s Nantun District, was originally slated to be demolished to make way for housing projects.
Resident veteran Huang Yung-fu (黃永阜), who is 96 years old and known as “Rainbow Grandpa,” began using cement paint to decorate the walls, doors, and windows of a dozen empty houses and pathways in the veterans’ village in 2008, a pastime he has continued ever since. The subjects of his paintings include animals and celebrities, and are quite unique, as they look childish and vivid.
What started as Huang’s pastime unexpectedly saved the village from being knocked down seven years ago when the authorities agreed to preserve the village, following a campaign to save it having been launched by local university students who saw Huang’s works.
The BBC video that portrays the Rainbow Village says that Huang has never formally learned painting, yet the murals he has created for the village have become a tourist magnet for central Taiwan, pulling in more than a million visitors annually.
Huang says in the video that his father taught him how to paint when he was three, and that, at first, he painted mostly dogs, cats, and pigs on the buildings, without knowing that they would be so well received at the time.
He told BBC that many houses could have been demolished if not for his paintings, and he will therefore continue to paint even when he is 100 years old.
(photo by CNA)
(photo courtesy of Taichung City Government)