Taiwan’s Rainbow Village artworks lost amid renovation
Taiwan’s Rainbow Village was one of the island’s key cultural relics for many years, and now it is in a state of disarray thanks to the planned renovations of the city, which many fear will be destructive.
The village, a former rice processing plant in the old city of Kaohsiung, was built in 1972 to house a Buddhist temple and is widely celebrated for its unique architecture.
The former factory included two buildings, a main structure and a complex of pavilions and other structures.
In the main building that houses the temple, visitors can see many murals and artworks by the Taiwanese artist Kuo Kuo-chang.
Kuo started his career in the 1950s and the complex, which was previously a textile workshop, featured murals by Kuo, an artist in the “school of light” movement, which was a mixture of social realism, abstract expressionism, surrealism, and other forms of art.
The building was renovated in 2010-2013 by the company HOK, which was acquired by the city and has been tasked with the long-term renovation of Rainbow Village.
A group of residents is suing the company for breach of contract and fraud because of claims it didn’t properly consult the residents. The village was awarded with a national monument status during the same period, when it was closed to visitors and had limited access.
Residents are now threatening to sue the city over the renovation, which the residents blame for destroying the artworks.
The city has since said it plans to build new apartments instead, and that it would give the artworks to the Kaohsiung Museum of Modern Art (KMOMA), but that seems only to have been a ruse to appease residents, who refuse to return the artworks, and are instead lobbying for them to be gifted to the Taiwan Forestry University or to the Tainan Historical Archives Museum.
The city has said it expects the Rainbow Village project to conclude “within two years” and that it will demolish the pavilions later this year, but residents have criticized the timetable as being too slow