An iconic village in Taiwan covered entirely with rainbow-colored paintings by a 99-year-old grandpa has been defaced by workers maintaining the village.
Here’s everything we know about what happened.
What happened to Taiwan’s Rainbow Village?
An iconic Instagram-worthy village covered in rainbow-colored paintings by a 99-year-old Taiwanese grandpa has been defaced, drawing public outrage.
The Rainbow Village in Taichung, Taiwan, was vandalized by employees of the company operating the tourist attraction after the government decided to end its contract.
“My whole life’s work has been ruined.”– Rainbow Grandpa
Rainbow Grandpa and his Rainbow Village
Rainbow Village is located in a former military housing estate in Taichung in central Taiwan.
Huang Yung-fu, a former soldier and one of the last residents in the estate, begun painting colorful drawings on the village buildings’ walls in 2008, when the government was planning to tear down the village for urban development.
Top 10 Instagrammable spots in Taiwan
Huang’s bright and unique drawings gained the attention of not only people in Taiwan and around the world. It inspired students from local universities to start a movement to save the village, which officially opened as a cultural and heritage site in 2014.
The site has now been listed as one of Taiwan’s top 10 most Instagrammable spots and reportedly welcomes up to one million visitors a year.
Who are the Rainbow Creative Co?
As Rainbow Village’s popularity grew, Wei Pi-rin, the CEO of Rainbow Creative Co, got in touch with Huang and eventually took over managing the site. The company was contracted by the Taichung City government to operate, promote, repair and maintain the village and had been doing so for almost 10 years.
According to Wei, almost 90% of the paintings in the village were created by Rainbow Creative Co staff in the style of Rainbow Grandpa and are not Huang’s true works.
“A protest against the city government”
Wei said he had led 13 of his employees to cover the murals on July 30 not to destroy the works but as a protest against the city government for repeatedly ignoring his plans and proposals for operating the village, according to local media Apple Daily.
In a statement, Rainbow Creative Co accused the government of “administrative violence,” saying they had only been given five days notice to evict the property.
14 employees were questioned by police and released.
“Why did the government not give us an earlier notice or announcement so that we could prepare in advance instead of completely ignoring the livelihood of our 22 employees?”- Rainbow Creative Co
Taichung City Government responds
Taichung city government officials said that it had ended its contract with Rainbow Creative Co as it was planning to conduct restorations on the 50-year-old buildings from August to January 2023 to ensure tourist safety.
It said that as the buildings are government property, it will be seeking compensation for the damages to its property under criminal law.