This Old Painter Saved The Whole Village With A Paintbrush

It took Huang Yung-Fu and the villagers two years to complete the works. The old cement walls were in turn replaced by unique and brilliant paintings of rainbow colors. Every street, every door, every corner of the village is a work of art.
Caihongjuan Village (Rainbow Village) is currently one of the heavily promoted tourist attractions in Taichung city, Taiwan (China).

Source: 1949 Rainbow

Rainbow Village is known as a small colorful village, decorated with patterns of special shapes that are extremely randomly combined. The whole village was painted by a retired old soldier with the original purpose of objection towards the authority’s policy of relocating and destroying the village. Unexpectedly, from a completely improvised idea, the old man's work became a tourist attraction for sightseers when coming to Taichung.

Source: 1950 Rainbow

The unique idea to save the village

At 4 am, as usual, the whole Taichung city, central Taiwan, is still in darkness. However, Huang Yung-Fu, 96, still woke up early every day with a brush and a paint box of all colors to draw and paint all over the cement walls, roadbeds, sidewalks, windows… at the Rainbow Village.
Huang began this work more than 10 years ago. At first, he just decorated the inside of his bedroom, then the surrounding abandoned houses. But now, the whole Rainbow Village has become a lively world, with all sorts of joyful and brilliant images. It is these colorful works that given him a no less colorful nickname, "The Rainbow Man".

Source: 1951 Rainbow

Nestled in Nantun district, quite far from the magnificent city center of Taichung, Caihongjuan was originally built as a temporary residence for former soldiers in the 40s and 50s of the last century.
Since then, Taichung has grown and become more crowded, while on the other hand, the village of Caihongjuan started to deteriorate and witness aging. Therefore, the Taiwanese government started planning to re-develop this area, first by building high-rise apartment buildings.

Source: 1952 Rainbow

Gradually, some ex-soldiers who received compensation money moved to other places, while others died. Thus, the village became dull and deserted with only 11 households.
“When I started living here, the village had 1,200 households. But people grdually started to move, or pass away. By 2008, there were only 11 households left, including me, because I was wounded in action, had no family and nowhere to go, either.

Source: 1953 Rainbow

In 2010, we received a notice from the government that they wanted to demolish the village to build new structures, asking the remaining people to receive compensation and reside in a different place. But I didn't want to and tried to hold on until the end, because this is the only place I can call home. I needed to do something to change the situation,” said Huang Yung-Fu.
"Necessity is the mother of invention", under difficult circumstances, the old Huang Yung-Fu came up with a unique idea. With the talent and ingenuity of his hands, Huang Yung-Fu has covered all the walls and streets with colorful paintings on all subjects such as trees, animals, people, cartoon characters… which are lively and vivid.

Source: 1954 Rainbow

Gradually, the unique idea attracted the villagers to participate. Together they painted the village. They paint wherever they can, from the house walls to the fences around the village, even down the road. Colorful paintings are simply everywhere.
It took Huang Yung-Fu and the villagers two years to complete the works. The old cement walls were in turn replaced by unique and brilliant paintings of rainbow colors. Every street, every door, every corner of the village is a work of art.

Source: 1955 Rainbow

Coming to the Taiwanese Rainbow village, visitors will be surprised as if they are lost in a dreamy fairy world that they seem to be unable to leave once they’ve set foot in. The village is so unique that it seems to allow visitors to enter another realm, letting their imagination run wild. Particularly, children are the most enthusiastic viewers.

Famous tourist attractions in Taiwan

At first glance, many people will think of the brilliant paintings as children's drawings with eye-catching and unique shapes, but in fact, the works in the village are highly appreciated by worldwide press, even the paintings are also classified as surreal.

Source: 1956 Rainbow

Despite being an amateur painter, Huang’s works immediately attracted the attention of many people, especially art students. They came to the village, took pictures of his drawings and spread them on the internet, directly making them famous. Since then, the fairy tale village in Taiwan has become well-known as it is today.
Though it doesn’t have any modern amenities or lavish monuments, nor is it a fairyland, Rainbow Village gives visitors a sense of the colorful array of life and the simple, honest and optimistic people.

Source: 1957 Rainbow

Every day, at a certain time frame, Mr. Huang Yung-Fu goes to repaint and take care of the paintings so as not to let them degrade. However, this village still faces a lot of pressure from companies as well as the government opting to clear it for new urban areas.
In 2010, a student from Ling Tung University visited the village and was fascinated by the uniqueness of the village. Then, realizing that the village needed to be protected from the effects of modernization, he and his friends launched a fundraising campaign to buy paint for the village, calling for the aid of cultural organizations, and petitioning the opposition to the demolition of the village.

Source: 1958 Rainbow

“Everyone was surprised and moved by the passion and enthusiasm of Mr. Huang, so the students tried their best to help him protect the village. As the campaign spread, the Rainbow Village quickly became a major issue in Taichung.
Within a few months, there were up to 80,000 emails from citizens asking the city government to preserve the village. Finally, in October 2010, 11 houses, streets, sidewalks… belonging to the village were preserved as a public park,” said Andrea Yi-Shan Yang, Secretary-General of Taichung City Council.

Source: 1959 Rainbow

Today, the Rainbow Village is one of the 30 of the remaining 879 military villages built in the 1980s. Many veterans have had villages have been demolished by residents who want better living conditions, but there are also others who express regret when watching the symbols of the past gradually disappear.
The image of Mr. Huang Yung-Fu's Rainbow Village spread around the world, and the number of tourists coming here annually is increasing. In 2016, more than 1.25 million people came to Taiwan to visit this colorful village.
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