“Colour is a power which directly influences the soul”. That is what the Russian painter Wassily Kandinsky once said. And yes, he is indeed right. Colour can change our mood, behaviour and worldview. Adding colour to something makes it different and unique. So, what happens when we add colour to an entire village? Kampung Pelangi, the Indonesian rainbow village.
Kampung Pelangi (which literally translates to ‘Rainbow Villag’) is a small Indonesian village located in the southern district of Semarang, central Java. The village was once a slum area with a serious housing problem until the government decided to invest about $29,000 in order to give it an overall makeover. With colourful results! More than 200 homes and streets were coloured in vibrant yellow, red, blue, purple, green, pink, turquoise, orange,… basically all the colours you could imagine.
The idea for this transformation came from the local junior high school principle Slamet Widodo. His simple but amazing idea changed the life of the hundreds of inhabitants completely. This is not only because of the fun process of transforming the city – imagine you and your beloved neighbours and friends holding a paint bucket and a paintbrush painting whatever and wherever you like – it is about the economical improvement. Tourists from all over the world have noticed this artsy village and made it a popular Instagram spot for backpackers who travel the area. Local businesses have seen an increase in sales which resulted in better living conditions for the people.
The village was not always called Kampung Pelangi. Before the lifechanging investment and the colourful transformation it was called Kampung Wonosari.
Kampung Pelangi shows how colour can indeed change life and influence the soul. Small things can make a big difference! So next time you visit the area, don’t forget to visit Kampung Pelangi and support the local people.