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The incredible Truck art

Updated on October 7, 2015

I was recently travelling to the other city and it was almost for hour journey. I was really bored of staring out the window looking at trees and cars and thought about taking a nap as I had nothing else to do. I stretched my legs a bit and shifted down in my seat and was just about to doze off when heard a loud honking sound. I turned to look. There was a truck just beside our car. We let it pass and three more followed behind it. Just then I couldn’t help but ignore the idea of sleeping as I could not ignore the moving art gallery in front of my eyes.

While reading other hubbers I noticed that a lot them share their significant cultural aspects and their life experiences and it is a delight to read them. It is as if the feeling of affection has somehow got incorporated into such kind of a hub. Similar is the case with me writing this hub. I did consider the idea of consulting the information a lot of research that many archaeologists, artists and photographers might have done on the truck art but then I just abandoned the idea. Because I simply do not need to do that as the beauties I am about to describe to you, I have been watching them since…I don’t even remember because they are to be found in every city on every road in every part of our country, however remote it may be.

Now getting to the point, the trucks I saw before me held my attention. Even when I have been watching them all my life, they never fail to attract me. The first thing you notice about them is the striking colors that they are covered in. all the colors are so bright, it seems like you are looking at an extraordinary garden packed with the most striking colored flowers, their petals moving with the wind or a huge aquarium filled with tiny fishes of all the colors they come in, trying to move in every possible direction by moving their delicate fins. The colors don’t seem static. And when you look closer you would see tiny details in the pictures, or rather pictures, millions of small pictures made in paint. Different pieces of metal joined together forming part of the whole.

You would see all kinds of shapes and figures in them and among all those tiny details, the center piece, the heart of them all. Now here we get to the best part. It could be a picture of anything depending on the interests and personality of the driver. It could be the image of the place where he comes from, hills and water falls or green fields with colorful flowers around them. It could be the face of their kid or a politician, actor or sportsman they like. Or it could be the eyes of a wife or a lover with “surma” (a kind of black powder used to beautify eyes) in them, looking back adoringly at the onlooker. On the sides there are much smaller paintings drawn in square sections.

Back view of various trucks
Back view of various trucks

Around the truck there are metallic chains hanging from below it, dangling like tiny bells. When the truck moves they make jingling sounds. Because of them the trucks are often called “jingle trucks”. Black pieces of cloth are tied to various parts of the truck. They are thought to keep away bad luck. The inside of the truck is not visible as the windows are so small. You can only see the face of the driver form it and nothing else.

View showing chains and bells hanging from the truck
View showing chains and bells hanging from the truck

Only once did I happen to actually see for myself what it looks like from the inside. Once during a school trip I had a chance to jump inside the driver’s seat. It was one of the most beautiful things I had ever seen. So much beauty packed into such a small space. Lights and mirrors and flowers and carvings, it was like a tiny sheesh mahal.

(sheesh mahal is a part of the Red Fort in Pakistan built by the Mughal kings. It has been used as place of entertainment in Sikh rule to arrange dance and music).

inside of the truck
inside of the truck

The carving, painting and decoration costs around 3 to 4 lac rupees that is 3000 to 4000 dollars. The drivers usually don’t make much and it is usually difficult for them to make both ends meet but they spend whatever fortune they make in their trucks which implies which implies how important they are to the drivers. It takes months to paint the whole truck as every detail is so perfectly made. So they also have their trucks painted at the cost of not being able to use them for transport of goods.

truck drivers with their trucks
truck drivers with their trucks
truck artist
truck artist

Truck art has become quite popular around the world can also be seen in some other Asian countries to some extent but it basically belongs to Pakistan. Other articles are also made taking inspiration from this art. Some of the cloth designers have attempted to base their collections on truck art. It has also been incorporated in shoes, bags, crockery, furniture and decoration items.


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