Tucked away in one corner of the large city of Taichung, Taiwan lies a modest ‘military dependents’ village’ – a community built in the late 1940s and the 1950s to serve as provisional housing for Nationalist soldiers, but ended up becoming permanent settlements. Over the years, many military dependents' villages have suffered from urban problems such as housing dereliction, abandonment, urban decay, and urban slum. This drab place has now been transformed into a beautiful and vibrant tourist hotspot, thanks to the colorful paintings of Huang Yung-fu, an 86-year-old veteran from Taichung City.
With a simplistic style he has adorned his tiny his military dependents’ village with paintings of famous TV personalities, plants, animals and other items such as birds, buffaloes and aboriginal people.
Huang Yung-fu first picked up a paintbrush about two years ago. He started to paint for his own pleasure using the remains of the equipment from the art classes he attended when he was a child. Students of a university not far from the “painted military dependents’ village” seem to be among the first who discovered this old man’s talent and started to spread the news. Some even took pictures of the paintings and published them online. Information about his paintings went viral, to the point where tourists have flown in from Malaysia, Japan, and Korea to see them. The dull and drab military dependents’ village is now recognized as one of the must-see spots in central Taichung City.
Huang Yung-fu would have never imagined that so many people would come to appreciate his art, and he has drawn great pleasure from his paintings. He paints a little bit more every day, and now painting has become the main purpose of his life.