The 93-Year-Old Man Who Saved His Village With Art

Alexander Synaptic, Flickr// CC BY-NC 2.0
Alexander Synaptic, Flickr// CC BY-NC 2.0 / Alexander Synaptic, Flickr// CC BY-NC 2.0

Five years ago, the Taiwanese government alerted Huang Yung-fu and his neighbors that their village would be demolished and ordered them to re-locate. According to NDTV, most of Huang's neighbors obeyed the order, but Huang—who, at 93 years old, has been living in the same village for 37 years—stayed behind. 

To keep himself busy in the nearly empty village located in the Nantun district of Taichung City, Huang began painting. It wasn't so much a calculated protest as it was an act of love: Huang's father had taught him to paint as a child, and now, in the abandoned village, he finally had time to practice.

Huang started by painting a bird inside his house. Then he began painting the walls outside. The colorful mural quickly grew until it covered the entire village. There were cats, dogs, plants, and even some of Huang's favorite celebrities, like kung fu legend Bruce Lee.

Eventually, a group of university students stumbled upon Huang's artwork. They were so impressed they launched a petition to save the village. The government complied, and Huang's village is now a major tourist attraction—and will likely soon be named an official cultural landmark.

Huang has become a local celebrity. He gives tours of his village and will happily chat with anyone who stops by. He continues to paint every day, adding new brightly colored creatures to his sprawling mural, and is known throughout the region as the "Rainbow Grandpa."

[h/t NDTV]