Handmade visual opulence: Truck Art from Pakistan

The vernacular idiom of the visual language I have always had a persistent and abiding admiration for. Familiar enough with the wondrous personification, floral ornamentation, and the acerbic wit of truck art in India, I find the visual dialect of our South Asian counterparts in Pakistan decidedly fascinating. Truck-owners and drivers are certainly not subtle about making their presence felt on the roads, and the pride of ownership and the joy of what becomes home for long months, is made evident by the eye-grabbing image making, structural ‘additives’ and ornamental accessorization. In extending their engagement with contemporary culture and social reality, it is not infrequent for these trucks to also wear striking imagery from the arena of politics, religion, sports, cinema and so on, transmogrifying, as it were, literally into a vehicle of culture. From sporting flowing Urdu poetic verses of eloquence and wit, to intricately carved side panels, crafted metal embellishments, elaborate painted flora and fauna motifs, to clever use of reflective stickers, cut acrylic and bells – the entire formidable arsenal of a visual assault is truly in full force on these trucks. All lovingly handmade. Take a look.


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