Truck Art in Pakistan

It’s rich, it’s vibrant, it’s colorful. It’s Pakistani truck art.

Indeed, trucks in Pakistan are not just a means of transport, but pieces of art to be looked at and admired. What’s beautiful about this form of art is that it is intricate but uses simple designs in bright colors. Almost every inch of the truck is covered and everything redone, including the manufacturer’s logo. The paintings vary greatly, depending on what the owner would like to see. Some request portraits of their kids, and some want those of famous personalities. Others leave it to the artist’s discretion. Besides paintings, there are several other ornaments that adorn these large vehicles. For instance, some drivers like to have decorative chains attached to the bottom, so the trucks make a merry, jangling noise as they travel up and down highways. A few drivers prefer to have large, three-dimensional models of birds or animals attached to the side of their truck.

Whatever the design, the drivers seem to be in love with their vehicles. The truck-painting practice is said to have been started as a way for drivers to take a reminder of their homes along with them, wherever they went. Today, they say that they decorate their trucks because they love it that way. They participate actively in the decking up process, and hence feel a sense of attachment with their trucks. The art is so popular that some cars and taxis have also been spotted adorned with the paintings.

The Pakistani truck paintings are now being recognized as a serious form of folk-art. Some art galleries display smaller objects painted in a similar fashion, such as mugs, glasses, lanterns and kettles.