Huang Yung-fu (黃永阜), the artist who created the “Rainbow Village” in Taichung, died yesterday after a long battle with illness, his family said. He was 101 years old.
Huang, a veteran and resident of a military settlement in Taichung’s Nantun District (南屯) that had been slated for demolition, in 2008 painted vivid communal murals that drew accolades from the art world, resulting in the village’s transformation from an illegal construction to a beloved tourist attraction.
More than 2 million people have visited the settlement since Huang began his creative work, which he continued well into his final years.
Photo courtesy of the Taichung City Government
Nicknamed “Rainbow Grandpa,” Huang was born in China’s Guangdong Province in 1924 and fought in the ranks of the then-Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) government’s armies in the Battle of Guningtou (古寧頭) during its retreat to Taiwan in 1949, and in the 823 Artillery Bombardment in 1958.
Huang in recent years experienced economic hardship and relocated from the settlement to a nearby home while battling diabetes, gout and other chronic illnesses, his family said.
Huang’s daughter, surnamed Liao (廖), said her father had a nap after lunch as usual, but was found unresponsive at 3pm.
Photo courtesy of the Taichung City Government
First responders unsuccessfully tried to revive Huang for eight minutes, she said.
The Taichung Police Department’s Fourth Precinct, which conducted an investigation as a matter of routine, has preliminarily declared his death to be natural, she said.
Local police have extended help to the family with Huang’s affairs and a coroner’s inquest is to be conducted by the Taichung Health Bureau, Liao said.
Precinct Chief Lee Chien-hsing (李建興) has a profound appreciation for Huang’s contribution to the local community, arts and culture, having visited the man earlier last year, the precinct said.
Lee has made a personal contribution to the family, and requests that local leaders and charities do the same out of respect for the artist, it said.
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