The man who saved his village with art

By Kate Hassett

The man who saved his village with art
93-year-old man saves his home town from being destroyed by developers, one painted house at a time.

Five years ago, the occupants of a village located in the Nantun district of Taichung City in Taiwan, were told they must re-locate as the government had plans to demolish the city, making way for new development.

Huang Yung-fu and his neighbours were given an ultimatum. Stay and be homeless, or re-locate and start again.

Most of his neighbours followed orders and left the village, but 92-year-old Huang stayed behind, choosing to remain in the city where he had spent the past 37 years making memories.

To occupy his time in the abandoned village, Huang began painting – a practice he had learnt from his father at a young age. With the entire village available as a canvas, Huang’s artwork soon stretched from his own home, to those left abandoned by his old neighbours.

Soon the entire village was covered in the incredible vibrancy of Huang’s imagination.

When a group of university students stumbled across the incredible town, they began to realise the importance of Huang’s artworks and petitioned for the village to be saved.

The government eventually complied and the once abandoned village has seen a resurgence, as old occupants move back and tourists flock to witness the beauty of Huang’s designs.

The town, which will soon be named an official cultural landmark, has seen Huang become a local celebrity. At 93, he still adds images to his sprawling mural on a daily basis and takes curious visitors on tours of the town.

 

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