Monday, December 18, 2017

Art Gallery - Taichung Rainbow Village (彩虹眷村) Colorful Murals

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Taichung Rainbow Village (彩虹眷村) Colorful Murals
Nantun District, Taichung City, Taiwan - October 2017
Somewhere within the Nantun District of Taichung is a small area which is distinctly eye-catching and noticeable. It's a cluster of colorful single-storey houses set in amidst taller, bland looking buildings. This is the Rainbow Village of Taichung, a remarkable work of one man, and surprisingly a man who started life not as an artist but as a soldier. We visited it during our cycling tour of Taiwan.

These houses were earmarked to be demolished to make way for new, taller development. Until an old gentleman decided to make the walls, floors and eves of the old buildings his canvas. 

These simple houses were located in what is called "veteran villages", small enclaves built to house the veteran Kuomintang soldiers after the retreat from Mainland China to Formosa. But as time went by (especially these past two decades) these villages slowly disappeared to make way for newer, taller buildings as cities spread outwards.

In this particular veteran village, the houses were already mostly vacated and being torn down. That is until old Mr. Huang Yung-fu, the last remaining veteran resident, decided to start painting the the walls of the buildings. Was it out of idleness, boredom or loneliness that got him started? Whichever the case is, the end result was something vibrant, bright and loudly shouting for attention!

The loud colors and his unique style of painting did get attention though. Local people started coming to admire his work and soon word spread of this unique little place that even foreign visitors dropped by.
With the place gaining popularity, plans to demolish the place were dropped!

Mr. Huang (or Grandpa Rainbow as he is affectionately know) has transformed the houses with vivid colors spanning the whole spectrum of the rainbow, hence the name Rainbow Village (in Mandarin - Caihongjuan Village (彩虹眷村)).
His painting style seem very rudimentary; each element if viewed individually looks rather simplified, but look at a whole wall or floor and the artwork becomes very vibrant. There must be some stories in these paintings, perhaps one day Grandpa Rainbow will tell them.

Painting on the floor and perimeter walls too!

The eaves and edges of the roof tiles are not spared the rainbow splendor.

Does he see the world as a movement of colors the way Van Gogh did?

A wall could have various different styles, slowly look and it will all work out.

Mr. Huang and his wife still lives here, they are the village only residents; and the whole place is his playground.

The easy and uncomplicated style reminds me of the work of tribal art... something akin to those art pieces I saw at the Batanes.

Narrow lanes are not spared.

Around a corner and more surprises are in store.

A very narrow lane, a bit too difficult to paint. Perhaps some young art student could give a helping hand.

The love wall is a favorite with couples.

You see me, I see you too!

... AND we see you too!

A younger Grandpa Rainbow drawn into one of the walls.

Some Inca influences?

Yes the Love wall does get to the couples.

We got into the posing mood too.

... and so did our bicycles!

Surprisingly, simple, plain one color clothes are the best to pose with the drawings. Avoid multi-color, flowery clothes otherwise one will blend into the paintings and be camouflage within the walls.

Photo frames are provided for placement... we squeezed into one...

... and so did my bike!

At the center of the village is a shop, that sells souvenir items painted along the same style.

I like this umbrella.

We were lucky to catch Grandpa Rainbow himself! He's still a spritely fellow and the artist in him just knows how to pose for a photo.

He was most happy to distribute to us some prints of his work.
Nearby is a donation box; donations are not solicited but we were happy to help out, seeing it not as a donation, but as a sponsorship towards the maintenance of the old couple and their village.

A write up of Mr. Huang Yung-fu,
A truly amazing man who has left a lasting legacy for all to admire.

Taichung Rainbow Village (彩虹眷村)
Address: 408, Taiwan, Taichung City, Nantun District, 春安路56巷.
Tel: +886 920 162 888
Opens 24 hours daily.

Related / Similar Blogs :

Balik Pulau Street Art Wall Murals : March 2016
Interesting pieces of beautiful street art murals found at the rural town of Balik Pulau located at the other side of Penang Island.

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