TAIPEI (Taiwan News) — Rainbow Creative Co. Ltd, which operates Taichung’s Rainbow Village, has been accused of defacing the attraction’s famous murals on Saturday (July 30) in an act of vengeance.
CNA reported the Taichung Cultural Affairs Bureau discovered that the murals in Rainbow Village were sabotaged and covered up with blue, red, and purple paint. The bureau immediately notified the police and began to attempt to salvage the art; Director Chen Jia-jun (陳佳君) alleged that Rainbow Creative painted over the murals as it moved out ahead of restorations set to begin on Monday (Aug. 1).
Rainbow Village was created by 99-year-old “Rainbow Grandpa” Huang Yung-fu (黃永阜), who took up painting on the village’s walls in 2008. Its creation later saved the historic military village from demolition when students and faculty from a Taichung university discovered the art and campaigned to preserve it.
Rainbow Village has since been selected as one of the top “instagrammable” spots in Taiwan by British lifestyle website Culture Trip and included in Lonely Planet’s “Secret Marvels of the World” guidebook. Huang and his story were also the subjects of a BBC feature story.
Chen told CNA the government had notified Rainbow Creative about its plan to restore and reinforce the village’s buildings as their walls have begun to crack after standing for 50 years. As the construction was expected to take nearly six months, it asked the company to move out by Saturday, which also marked the end of the company’s contract to operate and sell creative products in the village.
Chen added that though the rights to the village’s intellectual property are being reviewed in court, the art should never have been sabotaged. She said the government will definitely sue for damages.
Police apprehend the perpetrators of the defacement. (CNA photo)
In response to the news of his creation’s destruction, Huang wrote he is very sad and hurt that his life’s work has been sabotaged. He called Wei Pi-ren (魏丕仁), the owner of Rainbow Creative, “a bad guy, a huge villain.”
UDN reported that by Sunday (July 31), Wei, his son, and 12 staff members were released from police custody after questioning. Wei, who allegedly accused the Taichung City Government of disregarding his employees’ livelihood and said the defacement was in protest, was subjected to restricted residence while others were released without bail.
The case has been transferred to the Taichung District Prosecutors Office for further investigation.
Meanwhile, Rainbow Creative took to Facebook to share a lengthy statement accusing the government of “administrative violence” and “oppression with conspiracies,” claiming the Taichung Cultural Affairs Bureau forced it to move out with only a five-day notice. However, commenters quickly pointed out that not only did the statement provide no excuse for the sabotage, it also made clear that the company had been adding its own drawings in the village and using Huang’s fame to attract tourists and make a profit.
Earlier this year, Huang and his wife accused Wei of making false promises to give them a share of 15% in merchandise profit that Rainbow Creative earns through operating Rainbow Village, in addition to NT$30,000 (US$1,000) a month to cover their living costs. They alleged that Wei later refused to pay them their share, lying about not making money despite earning as much as NT$3 million in annual income.
Moreover, Huang’s wife told Mirror Media that instead of the NT$30,000 that was promised, Wei only paid the couple NT$20,000 a month, saying that NT$10,000 was deducted as rent. Huang’s wife was quoted as saying, “My husband contractually adopted Rainbow Village from the Taichung City Government. Since he is a symbol of the village, the government agreed to let him live there for free; why would there be rent involved after signing a deal with Wei Pi-ren?”
Mirror Media reported that in a statement, Huang wrote, “Most of the new drawings in Rainbow Village are not done by me … (The company) claims to the public that it received my guidance and teaching, asks me to pretend to lead its staff as they draw, then takes photos to share to Facebook and mislead the public into thinking I drew them myself.”
Huang Yung-fu restores his art with fresh paint to prevent fading. (CNA photo)
Rainbow Village became a world-famous attraction thanks to Huang's art. (CNA photo)
Updated : 2022-11-03 16:14 GMT+08:00
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