They use panels of trucks as the canvas for art

You have seen them on the news and TV channels. Those  beautiful and elaborately painted trucks on the roads of Pakistan, where every inch of the vehicle is decorated lavishly. Now Three Pakistani artists- Haider Ali, Mumtaz Ahmed and Md. Iqbal, all professional “truck artists” from Karachi is decorating the Hatibagan Nabinpalli pandal with their unique ‘truck art’ this Puja. The idea of housing the Goddess inside the truck-pandal first came to Gopal Poddar, a Durga Puja theme consultant.

Pakistan is a country known for its home-grown art, culture and heritage. Just like the signboards paintings and calligraphy on walls of legendry sites, there is another native form of art known around the globe but performed in Pakistan That has come to be called ‘truck art’. Haider elaborates: “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. Each truck costs around Rs10 to 12 lakh to decorate. The most expensivetruck art is from Karachi and Peshawar”. 

Recently,Haider Ali’s work as an artist was recognized by Canadian Senator Salma Attaullajan, who presented him with a certificate of appreciation during the South Asian Heritage Day at the Royal Ontario Museum. Mumtaz adds “Through the years the materials used have developed from wood and paint to metal, tinsel, plastic and reflective tape. Within the last few years trucks have been further embellished with full lighting systems.”

Decorating vehicles is a cultural practice for drivers in Pakistan. It not only is significant for drivers but also influences others. Such an art has 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. Haider signs off, “If allowed, we could paint the drabbing trams as well.”

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