A must-see in Taiwan!
Posted on 14 July 2019
Source: Taichung Travel Net
In the city of Taichung lies a small village filled with painted floors, vibrant murals and child-like wonders. Colourful doodles, blessings and positive quotes are painted all over the walls, the windows, the doors, the roofs and even the ditch covers -- giving this once-rundown military village a new life.
This Taiwanese attraction is aptly known as the Rainbow Village (彩虹眷村). Hundreds of visitors visit daily to admire the beautiful art and, of course, take Insta-worthy shots. As you explore its alleyways and corridors, you’ll find vivid paintings of cute characters, as well as abstract art, in every nook and cranny, giving you the most striking Instagram backdrop in a unique colour scheme that features mostly blue, red and yellow.
Source: @iamarollingball / Instagram | @rami_lai / Instagram
While the colourful walls of Rainbow Village is what made it famous, its origin story is an equally inspiring one that emphasises survival, perseverance and the power of art. The murals are the hand-painted artwork of 96-year-old former soldier, Huang Yung-Fu, known affectionately as “Rainbow Grandpa” (彩虹爷爷) as pictured below.
Originally from Hong Kong, Mr. Huang fled to Taiwan following the defeat of his troops during the Chinese Civil War. Many soldiers like him were given temporary housing by the government in Taiwan, which formed hundreds of military villages that eventually became permanent settlements for the veterans and their families. However, as time went by, most of them moved away as houses became rundown and developers began to pursue the lands for redevelopment. A handful of people chose to stay, even though the authorities had plans for demolition.
Source: Taichung Travel Net
Mr. Huang is among the last inhabitants of his village, which once contained over 1,200 homes but the number has now dwindled to 11. As most of his neighbours had left, Mr. Huang began to paint the walls of his house out of boredom. From birds, buffalos to animated characters, his paintings gradually spilled into the streets of the mostly-uninhabited village. His work was quickly discovered by people and local university students started campaigning to save his village.
Source: 吳志學 台灣影像相簿 / Flickr
Realizing the village’s value, the Taiwanese government eventually scrapped their demolition plans. Hence, the murals at Rainbow Village are more than just Instagrammable attractions -- they are a symbol of the village’s survival.
Source: Focus Taiwan
Maintaining the murals of Rainbow Village is hard work, but Mr. Huang remains passionate in spite of his old age. He wakes up as early as 3am to start painting before the village opens its doors to visitors at 8am. Although Rainbow Grandpa has no prior experience as a painter, his beautiful, vibrant artwork at the village is certainly a fairytale come true.
To support Rainbow Grandpa’s efforts, don’t forget to buy some souvenirs from him when you visit the village! From T-shirts to button badges to art prints, you can take a piece of Rainbow Village back home with you and even take a selfie with the man himself.
Source: Jimmy’s view
Address: 408, Taiwan, Taichung City, Nantun District, 春安路56巷25號
Business Hours: 8am - 6pm
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