Rainbow Village: An Introduction
Nestled in the hills on the opposite side of Taichung’s main downtown area exists a quaint village of retired soldiers and is presently more readily known as ‘Rainbow Village.’ It has become quite the popular tourist attraction on weekends with crowds of visitors flocking to the village to catch a glimpse of the paintings and artwork by Mr. Huang.
Mr. Huang is a retired veteran in his late 80’s and is responsible for painting this entire collection of cartoon-like characters with bold, dramatic colors on the walls and pathways of the village.
The place was previously scheduled to be destroyed and future high-rises were in the plans but Mr. Huang’s simple, round-faced paintings saved this village from destruction! It was reported that people banded together and because of their persistent efforts and e-mails to the Taichung mayor, the village is now considered a ‘cultural park.’
Our 1st Visit
I have had the opportunity to visit Rainbow Village on two different occasions which led to two very different experiences.
The first time my husband and I traveled to Rainbow Village was around New Year’s. It was a beautiful, sunny Sunday during winter. It was the perfect day to photograph the vibrantly painted wall murals containing round-faced figures and the whimsical colored pathways around and leading to the village.
However, finding the place proved to be quite difficult and an adventure in itself. We drove around in circles for awhile until we finally admitted we didn’t know where we were going, and proceeded to ask for directions.
I guess our idea to visit the village on a beautiful Sunday wasn’t an original one since the place was crowded with tourists. It was a difficult and virtually near impossible task to enjoy and capture shots without someone edging their way into the photos. I ended up with a collection of pictures of random strangers wandering into my photos.
Our 2nd Visit
So, with that in mind, we approached our visit differently the second time around. We took our chances and went there early on a weekday to escape the potential crowd and the midday heat.
We arrived around 9 am and unfortunately, we experienced the same beginning and had to ask for directions, not once, but twice.
When we finally eyed a glimpse of color amongst the drab and slightly neglected gray one-story structures, our mood finally lightened. We proceeded to park the car and walk down the path leading to Rainbow Village.
As I walked down the path, I couldn’t help but think that Mr. Huang, also known as Grandpa, was easing me into his artistic creations as a few characters appeared and progressively multiplied until the entire pathway was splash of color and the walls were an entire painted canvas.
When we got the the ‘heart’ of the village, we were very pleased to basically have the place to ourselves. It was just like I remembered it, but even better.
I notice a few slight changes. The pathway had been repainted from a rainbow pattern to a floral arrangement. Colorful images still flooded the walls but some of the characters had changed when compared to my previous photos.
Then, I proceeded to admire the simple painting style of Mr. Huang. I could take pictures of the entire walkways very easily and before I knew it, I had seen all of the wall murals. Having the entire place to ourselves made me realize that the place is rather small but still brightly bold and beautiful.
And during this visit, I got a pleasant surprise when I stepped into the archway. The artist, Grandpa, was sitting there, chatting with a few visitors, who had specifically come to admire his work and artistic creations.
I approached him and said hi and voiced my opinions about his beautiful creations. He seemed to be a very pleasant individual who is rather proud of his ‘Rainbow Village.’ I do regret not asking him more questions like how did it all start, why did he start it, and his feelings about so many people wandering around this little village, admiring his art.
But, I guess that gives me an excuse to return just one more time!
How about you? Have you ever seen anything like this? Do painted art murals inspire you?