Resplendent in the contoured fame of its curious colors, even when the riches of its striking had been availed out of not exactly conducive curations in charm, is a peculiar yet pretty premise that finds dwelling as part of the identity of what is pretty itself a conceiving as formerly Formosa. Distinctive as well a deciphering beyond the bevies of its beauty would be this particular place unfurling its essence along the Taiwanese landscape, as one of the many Military Dependent’s Village so very ‘characteristic’ of the country. It would indeed be in such scouting of uniqueness, as something inspired to rather than aspired for that the picturesqued prefix in denoting the Rainbow Village came to be as a standout specimen in itself.
The story bringing to life this village of ordinariness then staring straight into the starkness of sure death is one as ‘true’ as could be. True in adhering to its very basis of existence, as something that validated this identity in living. It wouldn’t be without such specks of seeing chanced upon as an encounter in the right place and at the right time that this now flamboyant festoon of charms would acquire the drama of its distinction. The story of its telling then is one iridescent in flecks of so many attributes that define the dimensions of its contemporary residing.
Contemporary as well is also the traditional notion in which the Rainbow Village has seen life assume an altogether different meaning for it to flourish in. It indeed wouldn’t be if not for the saving grace of the arts that this space so prominent in its current chromatic character would come to encompass a pride of such identity. Sizzling in the sight of what it unfolds as and enigmatic in the entire extent of its expanse is this village existing in an essence idiosyncratic enough to dawn upon it global recognition attending to either allusion of distinction.
Quirkiness permeates the air of what fans the Rainbow Village, with the scape of its spanning presenting a kaleidoscope of colors that what frames life itself as a colorful entity of diverse beauty. And yet it wouldn’t be any such specific desire in evoking the immenseness of the essence making up the arts that would curate this realm of variegated hues. Quite strikingly instead, it would be lackadaisical an experiencing of boredom that had former soldier Huang Yung-Fu go on to create this breathtaking masterpiece as a motley of colors. What Huang ended up achieving though in this pursuit not specifically devoted to a definite purpose would be something that occurred as rather profound.
Redemption it was that Huang afforded for the makeshift village of his residing after many of its inhabitants had fled to Taiwan. The account unfolds as a series of events happening during the second part of the 1900s when many a soldiers of the defeated National Revolutionary Army left their homes and hearths behind to follow in the footsteps of their fleeing leader Chiang Kai-shek. Huang, himself a former member of the NRA would remain as only a handful of the people who clung still to their temporarily envisioned, permanently received abodes of residing even as many houses in the settlement were run down by developers looking to buy the land. It was on one such fine day of a desolate almost existence that Huang would be bored, almost to death, so much so that the relief he sought would only be encountered upon the immensely satisfying realm of the arts.
A bird it was on which Huang took his flight of fancy within the confines of his home, expanding from there his areas of impressing to gradually cover the entire village. And thus paved the way for the erstwhile Caihongjuan Village to assume identity as Rainbow Village which though would be a moniker manifesting only some decades later in the ’90s. Why just the village though, it also would be the creator thus of this symphony strewn now with the colorful blossoms of a newfound life who would find himself decorated in this divine deputation of the rainbow.
As the architect of this aesthetically elaborate phenomenon, particularly phenomenal in the appeal it holds in adhering to Instagram standards of love arousing beauty, Rainbow Grandpa is what Huang finds fame in fondness, as a 99 year old veteran of the Sino-Japanese War and World War II. Painting pictures of birds and animals and planes and people upon the walls and surfaces of houses that once numbered a significant 1,200 proved to be quite the ‘movement’ that Huang Yung-Fu managed to stir all by his own means, even without any intent as such. For all his acting in not so impulsive an impulse then, it still perhaps would not have been enough on Huang’s part to paint such striking pictures of defiance if not for a chance discovery of the rosy reworkings upon a canvas blotched to such extents that would have rendered it obscure.
The recognition accorded to the village as well as the villager in a fitting rainbow evocation would follow only in the 21st century. It was precisely the year of 2010 when this unmissable sight of vibrancy would be discovered by students of the nearby Ling Tung and Hung Kuang universities. What would hence come to dictate the state of affairs of this otherwise non- descript village would be a revelation of sorts indeed- a serendipitous stumbling upon a treasure accumulated though in some dirt. On hearing Huang’s story, the youngsters took it upon themselves to determine the future course of events, snapping pictures, raising funds and signing petitions to save the place painted in a palette of prettiness from destruction.
From such profoundness of intention would emerge yet another narrative that the Rainbow Village would attend to in all sincerity. With a profusion of colors affording this one of its kind gallery of art a visage in distinction, the splutter of its images soon established it as a craze across social media. And thus flowed in the prospect of tourism as a lucrative alternative in considering, so much so that authorities agreed upon preservation of the now merely half a dozen repository of empty but exuberant houses as a designation in cultural esteem.
The move paid off indeed and in ways few would have expected. Boasting nearly a million visitors every year, Rainbow Village is quite an ironic shadow of its earlier self. Bursting with the cheer of colors and characters alike, and inspiring indeed a demonstration of the power that the arts hold in thwarting off ideas of destruction and demolition is this tourist attraction of thumping assertion. An obvious Instagram favorite in its offering of just the perfect setting for those snaps to guarantee a barrage of the likes and hearts, Rainbow Village today is one of Taiwan’s most popular places of cultural interest.
No wonder it has been capitalised on as well, in commercial drawing upon its essence which, quite impressively has been adequately maintained. A few food stalls mark the entrance that leads the way in exploring this vibrant vista even as a cafe inside does well in serving coffee in cups that are artistically designed as well. In keeping up thus with the contemporary tastes of the world and upholding still the greater character in which it found expression, Taiwan’s famed Rainbow Village has scripted for and by itself an unexpected story in success. That it continues to scatter its hues of hope in standing and thriving and flourishing despite its once doomed to death destiny speaks only in as relevant terms as possible the universal proclivity of the arts as the ultimate medium of creation for the human being to find fulfilment in.