I have lived in Taichung, Taiwan for a little more than a year, and while looking for something new to see, I noticed a photo of a village splashed with colorful imagery, childlike paintings and colorful pleasant dreams covering every surface that would hold paint.
AFTER SOME CITY STREET walking and about three bus exchanges I found the ‘dot’ on my map. A young Taiwanese man who spoke English quite well shook his head and said, “Oh yeah. Go down this street and then up one.” Little did I know that “up one” meant to walk up some well hidden stairs. I overshot them and spent half an hour walking in the wrong direction, but eventually found my way.
There were many people photographing the village, amateur and beyond, but one photographer I chatted with felt the same way I did. After we finished taking photos we had to force ourselves to leave. It was a pleasure being there.
I know very little about this village beyond what you see here. But I do know it’s a quiet refuge in a noisy and chaotic city and if you find yourself in this neck of the woods, it’s a good bet your day will be brightened by seeing this miniature city of paintings.
My initial view of the village, not yet knowing all of the color and imagery beyond this sparse entrance.Â
This was my initial view of the village, paintings bleeding out to line the entrance.
Cat, Rainbow Village
Maybe exhausted by all the visitors, the cat relaxes and enjoy a shaded, cool area. Dreaming in color, perhaps?
Chinese characters painted red
The weather here is usually very humid even when it's sunny. During the typhoon and rainy season, it's even wetter. Exteriors take a beating and sometimes age with interesting results like dripping creeping rust and fading paint.
In a world of drab and boring mailboxes, along come Rainbow Family Village hand-painted limited editions: mailboxes that are pleasing to the eye and probably also the mailman.
A close-up of a character with large eyes that seem to say it's ready to have fun in its new clothes and accessories.
I wish I could read Chinese, but sometimes I like the fact that I don't because I have use my imagination. Is this a happy family ceremony?
Adding a third dimension and an even more playful quality to the village are toys found decorating the more secluded areas.
High romance among the bright paintings. The village is a backdrop for commercial film and photography.
Blue appears to be the background color that is used the most in the village. I especially like the pastel colors on the window covering. The work involved and the details must have been a labor of love.
I wondered how long these painting have been here and how the images on the ground had held up so well. At first I felt uncomfortable walking on the imagery. Then I thought about how they must be meant to be enjoyed and walked on.
Rainbow Family Village entrance
This is another of the three entrances to the village. One thing I like is that in a city of over a million people, this village was a quiet, calm place. It has a quality of peacefulness that is hard to find here. There were older people about, smiling and laughing, relaxing and enjoying their day.
There is something comforting about the colors and images. They cover the drab world of wall, door, mailbox, and corner, making the average extraordinary.
Rainbow Family Village exit
This is exit I used to leave Rainbow Family Village, knowing I'd be back.
This angle is one of my favorites because you can get an idea of how far the painting goes. Even a pile of bricks is fair game.
Rainbow exit from the private living area of the village. It looked like it might rain that day and I wondered if water brings the colors to glossy life.
I was told the elderly man that painted much of the village lives here. When I arrived there were young girls outside his door saying, "Come out grandpa, please come out." He didn't come out.
Rainbow Family Village is quite a visual overload. I looked intently in all directions, trying to take it all in. Not possible in one visit I am afraid.
Get more stuff like this in your inbox!
Sign up for our newsletter and get emails of great stories like this.