Monday 9 August 2010

Pakistani Truck Art

This post isn't meant to be flippant in the light of the stream of bad news that keeps coming from Pakistan. Now contending with the human disaster of the monsoon floods, and the seemingly endless reports of terrorist bombs in the larger cities of Pakistan might make it seem like a bad time to be looking at a lighter side of the nature of Pakistan, but I think it's a valid point.

Pakistani truckers consider their vehicles as national symbols and make it a competition as to who has the most fabulous truck. Owners often spend over $3000 on paint and metal designs for their vehicles, which can be many times their monthly salary. Truck art started as a way to differentiate trucks in Pakistan from those in India after the countries split in 1947. Many of the treasured vehicles have an average age of 30 years and every part is replaced to keep the vehicle running as long as possible.

I love these painted vehicles, it's real folk art done with aplomb. I think there are many similarities with the old gypsy caravan painting and fairground art in this country. In Pakistan it's like the 60's and the Hippy trail never died.


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