Truck painting in Pakistan has its roots in the days of the Raj, when craftsmen made horse-drawn carriages for the gentry. In the 1920’s, transportation companies hired craftsmen to decorate their buses in the hope that these moving canvases would attract more passengers. Truck-owners soon followed suit with their own designs.
Not long ago, the beautified trucks were considered an eye-sore, and plans were initiated to have them grounded. After a period of growing international acceptance, Truck Art soon celebrated a revival and is much sought after by collectors around the world.
Truck Art is about tradition, storytelling, passion, and sometimes playful one-upmanship. Motifs range from religion, talismans & elements of personal life to elements of political nature.
Each province has its own distinct decorative style, partly due to different ethnic heritage, unique tribal stories and use of different materials such as wood trimmings, camel bone or plastic work. Materials, colour and overall art style all serve as a cultural representative of the region.
Various bazaars are dedicated to either ‘body building’, reflective tape work or truck accessories. Fleet owners spend anything up to $5000 to convert a truck into a moving canvas, making it one of the biggest forms of representational art in the country.