Memos from Asia

Pakistan’s Truck Art – A Colorful tradition

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Some traditions are so popular in one country that they become its trademark despite their presence in different countries around the globe. The same is the case with truck art that is known as the colorful tradition of Pakistan.

Truck art is popular in other countries of the world, such as Afghanistan, India, Japan, few South American countries as well.

Truck art in Pakistan includes the use of different colors to paint the body of trucks and the use of different ornaments to decorate the truck.

The following picture is an illustration of how the colors and other things, such as chains and jingles, are used to decorate a truck.

Truck Art Traditional Cultural Photography

This traditional art has extended itself to the local Lorries and rickshaws in the country as well. You will see almost every truck, lorry, bus, and rickshaw painted in a blend of loud colors in Pakistan.

History of the Truck Art and Its evolution with the time:

It all began with the Sikh and Muslim transporters painting the portraits of their spiritual leaders and Saints on trucks using bright colors.

With the time, tuckers and painters added more elements around the portraits and replaced them with peacocks, landscapes, and traditional folk imageries. Even the use of some poetic verses and historical places at the back of the truck is common nowadays.

Here you can see falcon painted on the truck with a background of mountains.

Islamabad, Pakistan – April 10, 2018: Jingle truck on a road in Islamabad, Pakistan, showing the truck art culture in South Asia.

The local culture has a huge effect on the decoration. People in Pakistan consider a truck naked without such decorations.

Islamabad, Pakistan – April 10, 2018: Jingle truck on a road in Islamabad, Pakistan, showing the truck art culture in South Asia.

You can find more details on the history and how different political eras had an impact on Pakistan’s truck art here.

The Truck Art:

Truck owners and drivers spend a lot of many on decoration. The truck decoration is expensive, but people love it.

Decoration of truck includes the structural changes, paintings on the body and back of a truck, and calligraphy. Truck artists have mastered the art using different colors and designs to give a new and fresh look to the truck.

The Decorated truck – 07.052015 Karakoram highway Pakistan

Drivers specifically pay attention to decorate their trucks with flowers on the top of their truck. They hang the bells and chains on the bumpers to create a sound just like jingles when the trucks move on the road.

Here is a decorated truck on its way to Karakorum highway in Pakistan.

Decorative old truck with Karakoram mountain range in the background.

The extension of Truck Art:

With the time truck art extended to buses, rickshaws, and cars as well. Bus drivers now decorate their lorries in the same way as the truck drivers do.

Here is a picture of a local bus in Karachi, Pakistan, typically decorated with the colors and jingles that are trademark of Pakistani truck art.

Karachi, Pakistan – February 22, 2015: An ornately painted and decorated passenger minibus stands on a side street in Karachi’s Saddar district. Pakistani bus and truck drivers take great pride in decorating their vehicles using professional artists and craftsmen in a trade that has come to be called ‘truck art.’ Note the art consists not only of colors but also intricate panels and motifs.

Here is a picture of a truck Dhaba restaurant wall that is painted with a decorated truck and rickshaw to highlight the traditional art.

Truck Art Traditional Cultural Photography

Here are more details on the rule of truck art on the roads of Pakistan.

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