Truck art from Pakistan is renowned the world over for its attraction and unique sense of artistic taste. Trucks in Pakistan are decorated with the paintings all over their bodies from local folk lore that gives them a Pakistani look instead of a vehicle that was manufactured overseas. Pakistani truck art is Pakistan’s cultural identity—one look at a truck with artistic work over it and the first thing which would come to your mind would be Pakistan!
In addition to that, art over vehicles is not limited to trucks alone, but is practiced over Auto Rickshaws, Wagons, even Vintage Vespa scooters!
Wings of Diesel: A Book Dedicated to Pakistani Truck Art
Truck art is so popular that a dedicated book of 288 pages has been written on this unique work titled, On Wings of Diesel Written by Jamal J Elias. The book delves in detail on the truck art in Pakistan, with pictures of different trucks decorated in the traditional Pakistani way. Elias is an expert on truck art form Pakistan as he has researched on it extensively and collected a lot of information about it.
According to Elias, there are three parts to truck art decoration; decoration on the front side, on the sides, and towards the back of the truck.
Truck Art Decoration on the Front Side
Towards the front side, the place over the windshield is reserved for religious symbols and texts. However, the area below the windshield represents any popular couplet relating to the culture of the local area.
Truck Art Decoration on the Sides
On the sides of the truck, the space is used for marketing purposes as it is painted with the name of the company and city of origin, et cetera.
Art Decoration on the Back of the Truck
The back of the truck is where the catchiest decoration is done. This includes giant sized paintings of personalities approved of by the truck drivers. At other times they may simply involve colorful pictures of animals. The paintings on the back also keep changing as the general mood of the society changes. Therefore, the truck drivers also keep “updating” their truck art protocols!
The use of multiple color schemes is the hallmark of Pakistani truck art. The first thing which your eyes will register whenever you look at a truck painted with truck art is the whole range of colors used in its decoration. These colors look very pleasing to the eyes as they are painted with a good choice of color scheme that creates a positive image on the eyes of the onlookers.
To add to this rainbow of colors is the colorful lighting and use of small mirrors in the decorations that make the job complete! The truck looks as attractive as can possibly be and the person paying for the service is more than happy to have had retrieved high value for his money.
Importing Pakistani Truck Art Overseas
The dazzle of Pakistani truck art has not been limited to Pakistan alone however. Many countries have been so impressed by the decorative art that they have chosen to import it to their home countries, all the way from Pakistan.
Pakistani truck art has been imported to many countries worldwide where there are admirers of this art which is but common-place in Pakistan.
The Sought After Truck Art Quotes!
Truck art quotes are one of the most attractive feature of this art as they leave their impression on the reader by virtue of their simplistic yet insightful humor. No truck art would be complete without the inclusion of quotes as part of the decoration. Therefore, that should give onlookers an idea of the significance of quotes as part of the entire decoration on a truck.
Many of these quotes are considered as legendary courtesy of the frequency and time since they have been used. The following are some of the innumerable quotes that are painted on trucks to complete their decoration process:
- Aadmi Aadmi Ko Duss Raha Hai, Aur Samp Khara Huss Raha Hai!
- Mera Dil Sirf Teri Hi Mohabbat Kayleay Hai, Magar Yeh Paish Kush Mehdood Muddat Kayleay Hai!
- Maan Ki Dua, Janna Ki Hawa, Baap Ki Dua, Chal Beta Truck Chala!
- Ghum Na Ker, Mein Vul Asaan
- Jaan-E-Ya Ali (AS)
- Maalik Ki Gaari, Driver Ka Paseenah, Chalti Hai Road Per Bun Kay Haseenah
- Duniya Jalti Rahi, Shahzadi Chalti Rahi
- Ugg Lawaan Teri Majbooriyaan Noo!
- Rabb Janay Tey Hussain (AS) Janay!
- Zidd Na Kar Gujjar Ap Bara Ziddi Eyy
- Pak Fauj Ko Salaam
- Utton Utton Jhalli Ey, Wichun Changi Bhalli Ey
- Titliyan Ras Piti Hain, Bhanwre Badnaam Hote Hain
- Aai Hoon Japan Say, Pakistan Mein Meri Shaadi Hui, Taxila Mein Mera Singhaar Hua, Gujjar Khan Say Mujhay Pyaar Hua!
Quotes such as these leave a smile on drivers following a truck en-route to another city. Many people are eager to read these quotes and explore the creativity of the poets who come up with them! Some are even interested in memorizing them for the sake of entertaining others with their light humor.
These quotes are immensely popular throughout Pakistan for the interest and attention that they create. Whenever any rider passes by these trucks, his first act is to look for and read the quotes printed on them.
The Origins and History of Pakistani Truck Art
The current practice of Pakistani truck art has its origins in the decorations of horse driven carrots for the Moghul Kings who ruled over the sub-continent. Since the Kings always wanted something of value and color for themselves, therefore they took to ordering the decoration of their carriages with this art. The artistic designs painted on the carriages were approved and deemed to be fitting by the Kings and Queens to suit their lifestyle and grandeur.
The situation today isn’t much different because the art is still being used to decorate modern day, engine powered carriages!
The More The Pretty, The More The Profitable
In Pakistan however, the art was initiated by truck drivers to woo in as many passengers as possible. It was the trend that the most beautiful of all trucks caught the highest number of passengers for its journey. This further meant that the truck art became a source of investment in the transport business as it had the potential of increasing revenues in the trade.
This led to a competition between truck owners for painting their truck with the most beautiful of ornamentation possible! The owners of the truck were willing to save a considerable amount of money to pay for the expenses of the truck art on their trucks even if they earned modestly.
As Boredom Extinguisher And Omen Of Good Luck
Another reason why the truck art was started-up in Pakistan was to make long journey less boring and bearable for the drivers on-board.
Also, it is believed that the colors used in the decoration of the trucks have a special effect of keeping evil spirits away from the truck. This means that the decoration also translates into good luck for the business of the drivers apart from the other benefits that it may have.
Costs and Maintenance of Truck Art From Pakistan
Truck art today in Pakistan can cost as much as PKR 300,000~500,000! That is a huge amount to pay for the decoration of a truck from bumper to bumper. However, many truck drivers pay that money without argument as long as they get a beautiful looking appearance for their truck in exchange.
The need for good finances for truck art admirers doesn’t end here. This is because the truck art has to be redone every five  years if the truck driver wishes to keep his truck looking beautiful and shiny replete with truck art designs.
This is by no means an easy thing for a truck driver to do who has only a modest income to support him and his family. The savings he makes for himself are even less relative to the size of his total income.
However, this does not stop truck drivers from getting their trucks painted with Pakistani truck art so they can maintain a “high-status” on the highways! They look for other means to fulfil the gap between the savings and the cost by say, taking a loan or selling precious items.
Other Forms of Truck Art From Pakistan
Furthermore, it is not only the truck owners who are interested in the truck art of Pakistan. Instead, car owners, even Vintage Vespa owners get their vehicles painted with truck art to make them look adorable.
Even so, truck art is painted on souvenirs from Pakistan such as lamps, crockery made from clay, et cetera. This is so that everyone can have his share of the art if he admires the art even if he cannot afford a truck!
Developing Interest in Pakistani Truck Art
One reason why there is a developing interest in truck art from Pakistan is the fact that it gives a sense of patriotism, a sense of belonging to Pakistan and its culture. Surely, Pakistanis would feel happy to have the truck art adorn their vehicles as it would make them feel much closer to the culture native to their country. So that maybe one reason why many people long to have their vehicles painted with truck art from Pakistan.
To add to this is the factor that the truck art from Pakistan has gained international recognition. So those who opt for it would also think of having had an excellent investment that is renowned the world over!
They say trucks in Pakistan are adorned just as a bride would on her wedding day! The truck decorated with art are referred to as “moving brides” on the highways of Pakistan! Their charm is such that that is the term which best reflects their appearance.
Like the truck couplet goes “Aai Hoon Japan Say, Pakistan Mein Meri Shaadi Hui, Taxila Mein Mera Singhaar Hua, Gujjar Khan Say Mujhay Pyaar Hua!” This phrase probably best reflects the manner in which trucks in Pakistan are decorated so that they may encapsulate the onlookers with their colorful orientation.
Pakistani Truck Art Styles, Types and Designs
The paintings inscribed on trucks in Pakistan are all very colorful and creative, and look like a truck has been imprinted with them just as designs are imprinted on bedsheets in the textile sector. There are paintings of butterflies, eagles, celebrities, landmarks, so on and so forth that decorate the trucks of Pakistan.
There is a variety in the way that artistic designs are painted over trucks in Pakistan. Although they may seemingly look familiar, but a closer look reveals the differences between either forms. Digging deeper into the roots, it can be ascertained that each province in Pakistan has its one unique style of painting trucks. This is because this is an art that is done nationwide in every province of the country and therefore each of the provinces has developed its own style and taste of executing it.
The different variants of Pakistani truck art paintings depend on a number of factors. One is the area to which the truck driver belongs and the second is his caste. Both of these factors reflect in the art painted on the truck owned by any individual.
Every truck owner would like his local tradition to be flashed in the form of a painting on his truck. For instance if the truck is owned by an individual from Peshawar then he would like things local to Peshawar displayed on it such as the Khyber Pass, so on and so forth.
Also, caste of the driver also has an impact in the sense that if a driver is Pathan then he would like celebrities such as Shahid Khan Afridi, A Q Khan, Ayub Khan or other Pashtun celebrities to be painted on his truck.
Trucks Painted in Baluchistan province and the KPK province are decorated with trimmings of wood. On the other hand, those painted in Punjab use plastic work for ornamentation. As against that, the trucks painted in Sindh are renowned for the camel bone work they use to depict over trucks. So there is a whole variety of Pakistani truck art that exists in Pakistan.
Another distinguishing feature of the paintings are the colors and style of painting over the trucks. The kind of paintings themselves are the ones that are local to the region where the truck was painted. Therefore, on highways in Pakistan, you would be able to see representation of all the provinces as truckers move from one city to another transporting goods to make a living.