Ask any Pakistani local what do they think of the old trucks plying on the roads. Chances are that most of those responses will indicate how these trucks are a source of pollution and cause traffic issues all across the country. But despite all the negative press that they get locally, these trucks are considered moving pieces of art in the international market. Pakistani truck art continues to fascinate many people.
Beauty on Wheels
The beautiful and artsy looks of these trucks continue to arrest the attention of any and all bystanders. If you see a truck, chances are that you can spot a decorated crown and garish portraits of flowers, celebrities, Islamic art, snowy Himalayan peaks, animals and amusing poetry, and much more. After all, these are some of the most popular designs that you see on Pakistani trucks.
“Truck art” is slowly becoming a global phenomenon as it continues to inspire gallery exhibitions in several western countries. Retailers in London often have miniature versions of these trucks on sale all year long.
Despite its increasing global recognition, locals often refuse to consider these decorations an art form.
Pride and Art
As far as the drivers or truck owners are concerned, these decorations on decades old trucks are more about pride. The art represents their hometowns and makes their vehicles superior to those which are less decorated. One might say that they spend more time deciding colors and animals than they do on the road.
Drivers say that a truck with a large crown and the best decoration finds more clients than one with less decorations or without any art. Owners spend so much on decorations that it amounts to about 50 percent of the vehicle’s value.
Truck driver, Haji Ali Bahadur, a resident of the FATA region, says that green and yellow have been his colors for the past 40 years as a driver. He said
“We, the drivers of Khyber, Mohmand and other tribal regions like flowers on the edge of the vehicles while the people of Swat, South Waziristan and Kashmir region like portraits of mountains and different wild animals.”
Truck art is considered one of Pakistan’s most known cultural exports and is helping in growing the toy and furniture industries. With new markets opening up to Pakistani products, truck art might soon find new fans in countries where it’s still to make an impact.