Call it a riot of colours. Kampung Pelangi, a small village in Indonesia, has transformed itself into a stunning display of bright colours and whimsical designs, a huge departure from its former state of squalour. The Central Java community, located in a southern district of Semarang, spent over $22,000 on the magnificent makeover in a bid to shake off its status as a degraded slum. Initiated by 54-year-old junior high principal Slamet Widodo, the project was inspired by at least three other towns in the country that adopted similar paint jobs, and has turned at least 232 homes in Kampung Pelangi into works of art.
Creative murals adorning the walls of narrow passageways burst with life, giving a veritable pulse to the whole village. Tourists have definitely taken early notice of Indonesia’s growing rainbow village trend, and have flocked to them accordingly, including Kampung Pelangi. The investments made in revamping the former slum are sure to pay off, as local businesses are already seeing a rise in souvenir and food sales, according to the Indonesian Builders Association. It goes without saying that the lively, bohemian atmosphere of this newfound hot spot is also gold for Instagram shots.
The village ended up being given 300 million rupiahs to get their paintbrushes out, and nearly every building—from rooftop to gutter—was drenched in a multitude of colours. Motifs include psychedelic hearts, human-sized angel wings, dinosaurs and polka dots.
Vogue magazine described the scenes “as like the mystic swirl of a Mara Hoffman print realized in physical form.” As per Lonely Planet, the village’s transformation has been an important social project, as it is encouraging citizens’ involvement in improving their community. The first makeover phase, which took a month to finish, transformed Kampung Pelangi, originally named Gunung Brintik village, into a vibrant and colourful village. Now, the second phase is to paint the entire surrounding of the village, which has 325 houses.
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“The second phase will take around four weeks to finish,” Semarang mayor Hendrar Prihadi was quoted as saying by The Jakarta Post. This year, the administration has set up an additional 16 billion Indonesian rupiah to fix the town’s waterways and river drainage system. “The government is also going to build a food court in what is now a car repair shop, located beside Kembang market. And we’re also going to make a parking area in that location,” said Hendrar. “The idea to create a rainbow village came after we saw the beauty of Kampung Warna-Warni, Kampung Tridi in Malang and later Kampung Kali Code in Yogyakarta.
Hopefully, Kampung Pelangi will be the biggest (of its kind) in Indonesia and will offer a new tourist attraction in Semarang,” Widodo was quoted as saying by The Jakarta Post. The move appears to be working already, though—a student from Diponegoro University in Semarang told The Jakarta Post: “We saw the pictures on Instagram before we decided to come here. It is truly awesome.” The hash tag #kampungpelangi has already garnered 2,791 posts and counting.