The “Rainbow Village” is a whimsical living art museum in the Nantun district of Taichung City, Taiwan, featuring a small collection of houses painted in vibrant patterns and bright colors by retired soldier Huang Yung-fu.
The 95-year-old self-taught artist from Hong-Kong, also known as “The Rainbow Grandpa,” started decorating the settlement’s cement walls, windows, and pavements with playful murals in kaleidoscopic colors ten years ago to prevent its demolition.
“Ten years ago, the government threatened to knock this village down,” Huang Yung-fu told Eliot Stein for BBC Travel. “But I didn’t want to move. This is the only real home I’ve ever known in Taiwan, so I started painting.”
The “Rainbow Village,” a former residential area for ex-members of the military once containing 1,200 homes, has since become one of Taichung’s must-see tourist attractions – welcoming more than one million visitors each year.
Huang still wakes up at 3 a.m. to paint. His eccentric artwork includes cartoon-like figures, from birds and animals to dancing samurais, floating astronauts, kissing sweethearts, and celebrity singers and sportsmen.
In another of his interviews, the 95-year-old man stated: “My father taught me how to paint when I was five years old, but I hadn’t done it since I was a child. The first thing I painted was a bird inside my house.”
Visiting Taiwan’s “Rainbow Village,” you will have the opportunity to wander around the small museum shop to buy signed pieces of art, and enjoy coffee served in a brightly painted paper cup from a hole-in-the-wall café. There is also a small classroom-like room displaying a fun little photo exhibition of people that have visited the place over the years.