Monday February 06, 2023

Truck art becoming Pakistan’s best known cultural exports

February 08, 2021

Islamabad: Pakistan’s distinctive ?truck art? is becoming a great source of attraction for painters and art lovers across the globe with having expressive themes to appeal to the people.

This unique and quite new art style is gaining popularity due to different themes blended with indigenous motifs to communicate messages and represent the country’s rich culture at home and abroad as well.

Trucks, lorries, and even rickshaws are being decorated with complex floral patterns and poetic calligraphy along with images of Sufi saints and spiritual vagabonds while the flying horse and the falcon are painted besides popular political figures, national heroes, and famous cricketers. Truck art is popular because of the hard work and artistry of the painters and each part of the truck is filled with the imagination of the artists.

The government of Pakistan and enterprising individuals began to organize truck art exhibitions abroad by the early 2000s, the genre had established itself as an exciting and vibrant ?folk art-form? from Pakistan.

An official of UNESCO Habih ur Rehman told this agency that they had been using ?truck art?, as a unique blend of murals and painted scenes to raise awareness on girls’’ education in Pakistan.

He said that the local community overwhelmingly used this local art for Girls? Right to Education Programme (GREP), helping to make an impact in favour of girls? education in local communities.

Over 20 trucks transporting goods had been painted with colourful portraits and murals advocating for girls? education, with messages such as ?Education is power and ?Father, don’t bring me silver or gold, bring me a book and a pen”, he added.

It was for the first time that such strong, culturally-sensitive advocacy messages on girls? education had been placed on trucks, he remarked.

A famous truck artist, AK Jameel said that truck art had become one of Pakistan’s best-known cultural exports in recent years.

The painters spent many hours decorating the truck through their professional artwork, he maintained. “Truck drivers overcome their inner loneliness by creating a strong bond with their truck considering it just like home for them due to long journeys, he said.

He said that truck art had been used as a theme by many fashion designers, industrialists, transport companies, and clothing brands for selling their products.“World is now much familiar with our truck art and now Pakistan’s famous truck art has been moved from highways to the skies, Lateef Khan,” an art lover said.

He said that even Pakistan’s flying academy had painted its aircraft using colours and motifs of an art movement eponymous with trucks to showcase that the country is more than the sum of its stereotypes.

He said that only in Karachi around 50,000 people were employed in workshops dedicated to the truck artwork as the truck drivers were always willing to spend big money to ensure their truck was better than the rest. Truckers don’t even spend so much money on their own houses, but on truck decoration and painting,” he observed.