Truck art is a uniquely Pakistani artistic style. One may even call it the visual language of Pakistan. This tradition is as old as we can think, probably even older than Pakistan itself. A lot of transportation had to be done by road so trucks, although not the only canvas for this art form, are a common sight displaying the artist’s expression in all kinds of creative imagery.
Fast forward to today and truck art has been exported to all corners of the world, from San Francisco to Sydney. We see truck art around the world, not only giving this art form a voice but also influencing Pakistan’s status in the art community of the world. Let’s take a look at some of the instances our Pakistani truck art found its way into the streets (and heart) of the world.
1. Milan has a makeup stand with truck art somewhere on its streets.
With their ‘Beauty on the Go’ project, the high fashion brand Dolce & Gabbana, has been travelling the streets of the Italian fashion capital, Milan, with a rickshaw painted to perfection in the ‘truck art’ style. As people get their beauty consultation, their eyes can feast on the beautiful rickshaw.
2. Washington DC has an SUV decked in fancy designs.
A ‘truck artist’ himself, Haider Ali, the CEO of Phool Patti has painted his SUV in abstract imagery typical of art on trucks in Pakistan . Ali has been in this business 60 years and has traveled to US, UK, India and Turkey to showcase his skills and passion for the art form.
3. Paris streets are a host to this artistic Volkswagon Beetle AKA ‘Foxy.’
In June 2015, Caroline Issa from Nordstrom and Because Magazine posted this photo on her Instagram which went viral in Pakistan because Truck Art!. The message of friendship with the flags of Pakistan and France on the car’s bonnet did not go unnoticed in Paris either.
4. A Museum in Los Angeles curated this painted truck.
The Ford E250 was ready to travel on the roads of LA. It was painted by Haider Ali of Phool Patti fame and was a gift to USC’S Pacific Asia Museum, the organization that executed his visit. It took him 10 days to finish this painting.
5. An Indian retailer sells artistic goodies inspired by Pakistani Culture.
We may not be familiar with the name of Anjum Rana but her organization – Tribal Truck Art- preserves and promotes truck art since over a decade. She has brought this art form to her customers in Bangalore through painted mugs, decorative objects, furniture and jewelry at her stores People Tree and Orange Bicycles.
6. Our very own Karachi’s streets had a German’s artsy car paint the town (literally!)
The German Diplomat Consul General Mr Klaus invited the team of Phool Patti to make magic on a car for his wife. What did they end up with? A fancy car, happy wife and a very delighted German diplomat!
7. A tram became a desi bus and livened up the streets of Melbourne.
A group of desi students gifted this as a gesture of friendship to their university according to the grapevine. And this is how the artistic tram landed in this street of Melbourne.
8. An artist in Denmark couldn’t paint his vehicle so he took to Legos.
The Danish artist Adam Grabowski paid homage to the Pakistani culture with this truck art Lego set. We love these type of Danish artists more than certain other ones who have not been very nice.
9. Turkey gave us the red metro buses so we reciprocated with painting their buses desi!
The team behind Phool Patti is quite involved with wherever truck art is featured all around the globe. And with this Pak-Turk friendship project they flexed their creative muscles on these Turkish buses.
10. There are more vehicles painted with love in truck art in the city of love, Paris.
Pakistani Truck Art Showcase in Paris, France took place in June 2015. It was meant to promote peace and strengthen ties between Pakistan and France.
11. UK did not want to be left behind so they brought the original truck art canvas – the truck – to their shores.
This vintage Vauxhall Bedford TJ Truck was transformed Pakistani style by Haider Ali from Karachi. This masterpiece is curated in a London museum.
12. The land of the Kiwi – New Zealand – also partook in some truck art trend.
Thanks to the exhibition of Peter Grant’s Photography in collaboration with Karachi truck artists such as Younas Nawaz and Anjum Rana Pakistan’s art landed in New Zealand.
13. Neighboring India came to our door, Wagah border, to paint the ‘Sarhad van’ with Pakistani truck artists.
Haider Ali once again was roped in to paint this van at the Indian side of the Wagha Border with the traditional Punjabi themes enriched with colors and bird motifs signifying love, peace and liberation.
14. The Smithsonian in Washington DC also housed our painted truck.
An exhibition ‘The Silk Road: Connecting Cultures and Creating Trust’ was held at the National Mall in 2002. Behind this artwork were Jamal-ud-din and Haider Ali. It was commissioned by the Smithsonian Institution in Washington DC.
15. A Swiss cow landed at Karachi’s Jinnah International Airport and ended up bedecked in truck art.
It is not an actual cow though! This model cow was gifted as a diplomatic gesture by the Swiss Consulate at the Karachi Airport, displaying the art work as seen on trucks.
Truck art is a typical Pakistani export that the world has fallen in love with. Here’s wishing more recognition to our extremely talented artists and creative individuals getting their due in the international arena.