97-year-old Huang Yung-fu, now affectionately known as “Rainbow Grandpa,” was born in China and faced a dilemma over 10 years ago. The Taiwanese government was threatening to knock down his village, as he was the last remaining resident, in attempts to build a more modern apartment complex. The government offered him money to pack up his home and move elsewhere. Huang Yung-fu started to paint buildings in his town for overcoming this threat.
“When I came here, the village had 1,200 households and we’d all sit and talk like one big family,” Huang shared with BBC. “But then everyone moved away or passed away and I became lonely.” With nowhere to go, he turned to art to ease his suffering.
First, he painted a small bird on his bungalow. It continued with cats, birds, and people began flowing across the vacant buildings in the village. Then, in 2010, a local university student stumbled upon the village and after hearing Huang’s story, and vowed to help. He snapped a few photos of the village and began a fundraising campaign and petition to save it from destruction.
This temporary military settlement once housed 1,200 families but was at risk of being demolished.
Now, over 1 million people a year come to visit this Rainbow Village.