Beauty on wheels: Unlimited imagination set free on a steel truck canvas

Published: June 6, 2011
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Artisans embellish their crafts with truck art, popular for it’s characteristic animation and vibrant use of colours. PHOTOS: THE EXPRESS TRIBUNE

Artisans embellish their crafts with truck art, popular for it’s characteristic animation and vibrant use of colours. PHOTOS: THE EXPRESS TRIBUNE

Artisans embellish their crafts with truck art, popular for it’s characteristic animation and vibrant use of colours. PHOTOS: THE EXPRESS TRIBUNE
Artisans embellish their crafts with truck art, popular for it’s characteristic animation and vibrant use of colours. PHOTOS: THE EXPRESS TRIBUNE

Artists dedicated to truck art and cinema board paintings have put up their works on display at the ongoing Lok Mela at Shakarparian.

The exhibition, organised by Lok Virsa, features twenty artists from all over Pakistan, busy in creating their masterpieces in the pavilions assigned to them.

The most prominent truck artists among them are Jamiluddin and Haider Ali from Karachi, said a press release issued by Lok Virsa. They learnt this art from their forefathers who migrated to Pakistan from India after partition.

Jamiluddin said, “Truck art is now becoming popular in Europe and other countries where people are impressed with indigenous traditional designs and motifs inscribed on the bodies of trucks and other vehicles.”

He said its’ popularity is evident from the enthusiastic demands of youngsters to inscribe these designs on their private cars.

“The first time when Bedford trucks were imported from England in 1960, my father started decorating them,” he said, adding, “My family takes pride in pioneering this unique art in Pakistan.”

Lok Virsa’s executive director Khalid Javaid said, “Foreigners often refer to these heavily decorated lorries and trucks as ‘jingle trucks’ because of the sounds they make when they are in motion.”

Lok Virsa has also created a three-dimensional cultural diorama depicting the unique art of truck painting at the Heritage Museum in Islamabad.

Most of the artists have had no formal schooling in art, and their work is skilful albeit in a naïve style. They use their imagination and inspiration to create fantasies, and canvas embellishments that are deeply rooted in Pakistan’s rich folklore.

The main themes of the paintings reflect the owners’ cultural heritage and tastes. Designs consist of geometrical and floral patterns and landscapes. Modern influences are depicted by oceans liners sailing through the calm seas, fighter jets and rockets and pictures of celebrated beauties.

Extremely bright colours such as flaming orange, gleaming red and yellow and shocking pink are combined with all shades of the colour spectrum. Intricate mosaics of coloured glass mirror and ivory coloured plastic pieces, as well as finely executed wood carvings adorn the superstructure of the cabins.

Cabin doors are often decorated with flowers, garlands and, sometime, birds. Often designs are composed of florescent coloured plastic tape. The colourful festival and truck art exhibition will continue at Lok Virsa till Sunday.

The truck art artists being featured in the exhibition are Jamiluddin, Haider Ali, Muneer Tahir, Muhammad Zahid, Suiar Khan, Imran, Andis, Abbot, Daniel, Wali Muhammad, Hanif Chishti, and Zulfiqar. Cinema board painters include Agha Saleem, Muhammad Ajmal, Tasadduq Hussain, Sajid Hussain and Muhammad Imran.

Published in The Express Tribune, June 6th, 2011.

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Reader Comments (3)

  • jawed iqbal
    Jun 6, 2011 - 10:37AM

    Good to see something positive happening in our country,otherwise all week long we only have news of islamic terrorism,suicide bombings or violence against women.Truck art is something unique to our country & maybe it could be used to fight against radical islam by having slogans countering the vile propaganda of the maulvis.
    We could have messages & lines on the back of rickshaws & trucks promoting moderate & tolerant islam instead of the radical extremist version being taught now .Recommend

  • Ravindra
    Jun 6, 2011 - 7:05PM

    is pakistan cares for artist ???????????????Recommend

  • Hassan Bilal
    Jun 6, 2011 - 10:01PM

    what do you think? Pakistan has a free media and respect for its artists.Recommend

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