What began years ago with a single hand painted bird on his bedroom wall has since then grown into a plethora of illustrations in this entire village in Nantun District, Taichung, Taiwan.
Huang Yung-fu is one of the many former soldiers who settled into the temporary housing provided by the government, and one of the few who decided to stay after the rest moved away. Over the years the number of residents dropped so drastically that from the original 1200 houses, only 11 remains in the village now.
Out of boredom, Huang picked up a brush and started painting a bird inside his house. He eventually took his art outside and painted the walls with colourful illustrations. Now, the whole village is covered in his paintings.
Huang’s artworks receive so much attention that they draw tourists from not just other parts of China, but all around the world who love his abstract animals, cartoon-like people and other surrealistic arts. His village, now known as Rainbow Village, has became one of the most visited tourist attractions in Taichung and a popular destination for wedding photoshoots.
Most importantly, it halted the government’s initial plans to demolish the village in favour of building a more modern town.
Interestingly, Huang had no previous experience as a painter and never received professional lessons besides being taught how to draw by his father as a 5-year-old.
Huang is still soldiering on with his mission, waking up before dawn every morning and grabbing his paint brush to add more colours to his beloved village. His art is mostly inspired by his childhood memories and imaginations, and he states that painting keeps him young as there’s not much else he can do at his age.
According to the city officials, more than 1.26 million people travelled the Rainbow Village in 2016 just to see the whimsical murals. Huang, or affectionately nicknamed by tourists as Rainbow Grandpa, usually goes outside to greet people and would be happy to take pictures with his guests.