truck decoration

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INTRODUCTIONTruck Art or Truck Decoration is very much popular in Pakistan. We can get the idea of truck drivers regions and their thinking. It is reflection of their views and tells about the mind set of peoples. Drivers belonging to different regions and backgrounds decorate their trucks in different syles. They give a picture that reflects their culture, custom and the ground realities of the areas that they belong to. These Trucks are decorated in different colors along with different type of Trees, Flowers or pictures of Kings, Queens, National Heroes or some Celebrity. The paintings and decoration on a truck tells the area from which truck comes (Usman, 2008). Truck Decorater Khan. S (2006) says: Most of the Pakhtun truck drivers demand paintings of sceneries, birds like chakoor and eagles and pictures of leaders like Ayub Khan and Imran Khan. Pictures of the film star Saima and pictures of Benazir Bhutto had recently become common among truck drivers, however, no current political leaders were being painted Truck bumpers are also included in Truck Decoration. They often used to convey messages and provide information about the group the truck belongs to. For Example, a bumper of a truck read:1|Pa g e Spring, 2011

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I have the life of an unfaithful companion. The punishment of my life has been far greater than my sins (Fancy, 2011). In Pakistan, many public transport vehicles that have imprinted some form of poetry mostly at the back of their vehicles. There is presence of deep thought in some of these, while others represent the lower segments of the society, some are about lost love and some are about the social injustices of the society. For example (Shehenshah, 2004)

Zalim Palat Kar Dekh Tamana Hum Bhi Rakhte Hein Tum Agar Car Rakhti Ho To Truck Hum Bhi Rakhte Hein Or Na Kar Jhagra Musafir Se , Musafir Door Se Aaya Hai Safar Qismat Mein Likha Hai , Hokum Door Se Aaya Hai (Shehenshah, 2004)

The art of decorating trucks was now gaining popularity. An artist took 10 to 15 days for a truck to be decorated completely while the average cost ranged between Rs 300,000 to Rs 400,000 depending on the quality of art.

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2|Pa g e Spring, 2011

HISTORYCreative painting on buses in Pakistan began as a method to attract passengers for competing transportation companies in the 1920 s (Mughal, 2008)

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The extraordinary tradition of decorating trucks has its roots in the days of the raj when craftsmen made glorious horse drawn carriages for the gentry. In the 1920s the Kohistan Bus Company asked the master craftsman Ustad Elahi Bakhsh to decorate their buses to attract passengers (Mughal, 2008). Bukhsh employed a company of artists from the Chiniot (a Town of Punjab), whose friends had worked on many great palaces like Holy Places, Place or Worship or houses of Mughal Empire (Mughal, 2008). Through the years the materials used have developed from wood and paint to metal, glitter, plastic and reflective tape. Within the last few years trucks and buses have been further decorated with full lighting systems (Mughal, 2008).3|Pa g e Spring, 2011

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The art of decorating trucks gained popularity during the Afghanistan War when trucks were used to propagate different messages. During the Gulf War in the 1990s, the favorite painting of the truck drivers was a picture of Saddam Hussein. During the 1990s, Saddams picture was popular among the truck drivers but then it gradually started to vanish (Fancy, 2011).

TRUCK ART OF PAKISTANCreative painting on buses in Pakistan began as a method to attract passengers for competing transportation companies in the 1920 s. Decoration is now used on most privately or commercially owned vehicles like trucks, buses, taxis, rickshaws, Tractors etc (Fancy, 2011). The truck drivers take great pride in making their trucks look beautiful. Zawar Khan, a truck driver said, We feel good about driving a truck that looks pretty (Fancy, 2011). Truck Driver believe that these expenses are well worth it. He says that no self-respecting merchant would trust his goods in the bed of a shabby looking truck. Customers reason, that if a driver cant afford to be garish, maybe his is not a very good driver. One other reason is that the police also look more sternly at a poorly decorated truck. If he could not make Truck colorful, he would be stopped by the police. According to him if the truck is not in good condition, the police will not like his truck (Fancy, 2011).

Image:4. Source: Google Images 4|Pa g e Spring, 2011

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When the truck comes onto the roads, it creates competition among truck drivers as each driver wishes to make his truck look more beautiful than the next one. However, it was natural for people from different areas to have different priorities regarding the decoration of their trucks (Fancy, 2011). Regarding the art of decorating trucks, souvenir and accessories seller Habibullah says that: I am not highly educated but I have seen paintings of artists who are acknowledged globally. I consider truck art to be no less than the works of the great popular painters, as the paintings on trucks are bigger in size if nothing else (Fancy, 2011).

PAKISTANI TRUCK AT SMITHSONIAN MUSEUM AT WASHINGTON DCAmericans got interested in Pakistani truck painting in the summer of 2002 at the Smithsonian Folklife Festival, when a truck painter Mr. Ali and bodywork expert Jamil ud-Din brought a truck from Karachi to Washington, D.C. They decorated it right there on the National Mall and finished their Masterpiece. Now a 1976 model of Bedford is a part of the Washington Museum (Mughal, 2008).Image:5. Source: google

AREA OF TRUCK DECORATIONTruck bodies are perfectly painted by the street artists who can be found at Truck stands all across the country. For example, Hawkes Bay/Mauripur Road Karachi, Pir Wadhai Rawalpindi, Badami Bagh Lahore, Sariab Road Quetta etc (Elias, 2011). These hired artists then paint the whole truck in brightly colored patterns. Trucks decorated in Quetta and Peshawar get lots of Wood Trimming where as those in Rawalpindi get lots of Plastic Decoration. Karachi excels in using Reflective Tapes, also called Chamak Patti in local language (Elias, 2011).

TIME DURATIONUsually a Truck Decorators take six to ten weeks from start to complete decoration. During this time, owner of truck comes many times and if there is any further extension or decoration needed, owner tells the decorator and made possible alteration. Unbelievably, the majority of truck owners on a full makeover of their vehicles every three or four years (Fancy, 2011).5|Pa g e Spring, 2011

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COST OF TRUCK DECORATIONPakistani trucks must be one of the most recognizable features of the country. It is said that many truck drivers, unable to marry because of lack of time or money, pour all of their money, love and inspiration into their vehicles (Geek, 2010). Vehicle decoration is an expensive undertaking. It costs about $5,000 to do the bodywork on a truck, although much of the cost goes toward structural modifications to the vehicle (the per capita income in Pakistan is $2,100, as measured by Purchasing Power Parity). Most Pakistani trucks are not owner-operated, but belong to fleets. Fleet owners authorize the driver to take the vehicle to a coachwork shop at company expense and have it decorated according to his own taste (Geek, 2010).

TYPES OF TRUCK DECORATIONThere are different types of Truck Decoration according to the different body parts of the truck and material used in Truck decoration. In the following different types of truck decoration are mentioned.

Material used in Truck Decorationi. Bright Colored Patterns

Trucks decorated in Lahore are mostly very bright colored decorated (Elias, 2010). ii. Wood TrimImage:6. Source: Google

Wooden decoration is used mostly in those trucks that are decorated in Quetta and Peshawar (Elias, 2010). iii. Plastic Decoration

The truck was decorated by using lot of plastic designing are mostly decorated in Rawalpindi (Elias, 2010).

Image:7. Source: Abro at 6|Pa g e Spring, 2011

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Reflective Tapes

Reflective tapes as known as Chamak patti are mostly uses in those trucks thats are decorated in Karachi (Elias, 2010). v. Camel Bone Decoration

In the rural area of Sindh, mostly trucks are decorated with Camel bone. That is very expensive decoration as compares to others (Elias, 2010).


Bumpers are decorated with very attractive way along with the Number plates and sometimes a message is written in bumpers. A Few yards of chain and a handful reflector along with the paint (Fancy, 2011). ii. Wheel Painting

All the wheels are painted and colored in very bright way so that they look prominent and funky especially during the movement of Truck. iii. Interior Decoration

Interior of truck are decorated with speakers and different types of stickers. Sometimes Fan is installed in the interior. Seats are very comfortable so the driver feel relax. iv. Body PaintImage:8. Source: Google

Whole body of Truck is painted in multi colors by some religious views, name of owner or painter, myth of movies etc. These paints are enamel thinned with gasoline for the purpose of instant drying. Some bright colors are reflects at night (Fancy, 2011). v. Rear Panels

Rear panels are decorated normally with a large single image. This image may be some celebrity, home village, some Queen or Fairy or may be some other favorite images (Fancy, 2011). vi