Friday, November 12, 2010

Pakistani Drive

Today we take a ride aboard  the most beautiful, eye-popping road monsters in the world,
an explosive, psychedelic, pop, opulent and unique expression of Pakistani folk art...
Complete with birds, fish and other animal decorations galore!

"The cover for Granta 112 was created by Islam Gull, a truck and bus artist of Bhutta village 
in Karachi, as part of a greater collaboration with Pakistani artists for the issue. 
Gull, born in Peshawar, has been painting since the age of thirteen. Twenty-two years ago 
he settled in Karachi, where he now teaches his craft to two young apprentices."

 Photo via Englishcafe.

While the art of vehicle decoration is practiced in various Asian regions, in Pakistan 
this custom has reached a greater popularity and a higher level. All across the country 
the vast majority of vehicles, from trucks and buses to fruit carts and rickshaws, 
has been transformed into a dazzling display of colorful creativity.
The eclectic decorations mix flowers and other ornamental motifs with sacred 
and secular imagery including calligraphic verses, portraits, and landscape scenes. 

 Two gorgeous details photographed by rtw2007. 

Most of the photos in this post come from the website of Peter Grant,
a photographer from New Zealand who is selling them as prints
and is also trying to publish a book with these materials.
Wouldn't it be great to admire the intricate details in print resolution?

"For a truck driver, the truck is his princess in Pakistan. I don't know what's the gender of trucks outside 
your country :) but here truck is a SHE. To decorate his princess is not only the most important thing 
for a truck driver, but it helps him run his business. Painting, lights, and wood work (specially on doors 
and inside the truck cabin) are the specialty of various artists, and truck drivers buy this work 
on very expensive rates."  quoted from Perfect Stranger on Flickr.

"In a country where the per capita income is barely $2,000, it is surprising to see truck owners spend 
thousand of dollars per truck for structural modifications that convert these gas-guzzling, smoke-spewing, 
road-dominating monstrosities into beautiful moving canvases covered in poetry, folk tales, and 
‘religious, sentimental and emotional world-views of the individuals employed in the truck industry,’ 
making it one of the biggest forms of representational art in the country."

The above quote was originally posted by Ishtiaq Ahmed on Flickr.
Go visit his photostream to see two more amazing truck shots.

In case you haven't overdosed yet, there's loads more photos on Flickr...
And here you can read an interesting article about the art and its history.


  1. Thank you for sharing
    This fabulous work with us
    Good creations

  2. You should see what artisans make in Mexico, I'm impressed with your post because it is quite similar to Olinalá boxes, and Huichol art!


  3. wow!saw it in tv, but in photo you can feel the details so vivid..amazing.

  4. Fantastic, I remember being driven in a crazy bus at frantic speed, the driver stopped at the road side, prayed and then continued on at maniac speed . . . the bus looked very like these wonderful trucks.



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