Believe it or not but art is a powerful thing. And while we sometimes think of it as optional, and something we have time for once we’re on vacation or relaxing, art can actually have real consequences and art can save the day. Think about all those times an art piece, a book, a movie or a poem resonated with you so much it brightened your day or even changed your life. Well, today we’ll tell you the story of how art saved a village in Taiwan.
There’s a little village in Nantun District, Taichung that used to house over a thousand families. It was initially built as temporary housing for soldiers. But over the years people moved away but some former soldiers and their families stayed and decided to make this place their permanent home.
Huang Yung-Fu is a 96-year-old ex-soldier is one of those few who stayed. He has lived in this village for almost 40 years. And even though the village was becoming almost abandoned, with only 11 houses occupied, it’s his home. So imagine his shock when he found out that the government was planning to demolish the entire village. The reasoning was that it was only meant to be temporary by design and since most people moved and certain corporations were interested in buying the land – they might as well make a clean slate out of it.
Huang Yung-Fu was not happy with this development. Can you imagine just finding out that your house is going to be demolished? But instead of panicking or finding a place to move, he turned to art to save his village.
Huang has no professional art training, he was just taught some basic drawing skills by his father when he was a child, but nothing extraordinary. But he decided to paint his house and later the rest of the street in rainbow colors. It made the whole place look way more lively, colorful and just a pleasant to the eye.
When people found out about this story, many started visiting this village and take pictures of this colorful art done by a 96-year-old grandpa. Basically, Huang Yung-Fu’s painting turned his almost abandoned village on the cusp of demolition into a popular tourist attraction. People started calling it the rainbow village and Huang Yung-Fu got the nickname “rainbow grandpa”.
Huang Yung-Fu says he wasn’t sure it would work, but he’s happy that his painting job saved the village and the government actually halted their plan for demolition. The upkeep of his massive artwork takes a lot of time and effort. Some days Huang Yung-Fu wakes up at 3 am to start painting. But he plans to continue painting the village in rainbow colors even after he turns 100 years old.