Pakistan is a country known for its home-grown art, culture and heritage. Just like the signboards paintings and calligraphy on walls of legendary sites, there is another native form of art known around the globe but performed in Pakistan is truck art.
Eye popping landscapes, colorful floral patterns, beads, portraits of national heroes, famous actresses of Pakistan and India, poetic and calligraphic poetry and religious verses are painted on transport trucks, which take goods from city to city mostly or used as public transport. These highly adorned vehicles are moving art miracles and known for their beauty around the world.
Truck art is considered rightly as a part of Pakistani transport custom and expression of traditional culture of Pakistan. But now it’s not just the part of our transport region also getting in to the different Verity of home accessories and gift items.
Adil Sartaj contributing his work as well under the name of Object he is producing many creative things emerging with truck art.
OBJECT was formed to offer contemporary home accessories and gift items to our customers. Their main mission was to design, manufacture, and retail exclusively in their own outlets to create an individual style. Object strives to combine local materials and local workmanship to promote a modern international standard. It has been a source of pleasure and inspiration for them to be a part of this journey which has brought them to our current modest position in the industry.
The surprising tradition of truck art started in the midst of 1920s and has its roots in the days of British Raj when craftsmen used to make glorious horse carriages. The Kohistan Bus Company asked Ustad Elahi Buksh, who was an unusual craftsman in 1920s, to paint and decorate the buses of its company for grabbing the passenger’s attention.
Elahi Baksh hired artists from Chiniot (town of Punjab), who had already worked during Mughal Empire on great temples and palaces of that time. The trucks and buses at those times were painted and decorated with paint, metal, woodwork and tinsel which were later embellished with lightening system for luminosity at night. When the artists initially started it, they had not the slight idea that it would be transformed into the greatest representational form of art in the country and all over the world.
Truck art carries social impact
Decorating vehicles is a cultural practice for drivers in Pakistan, whether it’s a bus, water taker or rickshaw. It not only is significant for drivers but also influences others.
This implies that such art has a social impact on people and they do it to convey a message. This impact might elevate awareness among people — especially the illiterate — about significant issues in a simple manner. Many people hope there might even be awards for truck art some day.
Each city has a signature style
The art of decorating trucks gained popularity during the Afghanistan War when trucks were used to propagate messages.
The truck bodies are immaculately decorated by the street artists who can be found at truck stands in Badami Bagh Lahore, Sariab Road Quetta, Hawkes Bay/Mauripur Road Karachi and Pir Wadhai Rawalpindi.
Artists paint the entire truck in vibrantly coloured patterns. The artwork can even tell you where the truck is coming from. “Every city’s artists have their own signature way. Trucks decorated in Quetta and Peshawar get lots of wood trim whereas those in Rawalpindi get lots of plastic decoration,” said Munawar, a truck painter in Badami Bagh. “Karachi set standards in using reflective tapes known as “chamak patty” in local lingo.