Art in Pakistan
When you spend time in South Asia, you’ll see plenty of unique vehicles coming down the road when you take a drive through the countryside.
One of the most incredible sights that you’ll see is a jingle truck.
In countries like Pakistan, truck art goes beyond a cultural expression.
It is a firmly rooted tradition that can create business opportunities for drivers.
If people love what you’ve done, then you have a chance to provide.
How Truck Art Got Its Start in Pakistan
Truck art began to develop in the 1920s when Bedford trucks from England began to make their way into the country.
These vehicles had large, wooden prows on the top of the truck’s bed.
It became known as a crown, or a taj, and would get decorated in ornate ways as if it was being worn by royalty.
Owners began to decorate their bumpers and side panels as a natural extension of this trend.
By the 1940s, when the trucks started to deliver goods on long hauls, companies designed logos to demonstrate who owned it and what they represented.
Then the logos began to become ornate over time to match the royal nature of the decorations on each truck.
They became badges of competition.
Karachi Became the Global Hub of Truck Art
Truck owners began to make their way to Karachi to get their vehicles decorated.
The city would become the global headquarters of this trend in the 1950s, and it is a title that has not yet been relinquished.
Truck painting might be in most South Asian countries, along with Japan and South American, Pakistan continues to take this art form to a different level.
Over 50,000 people have direct employment opportunities in workshops that specialize in this craft.
These jingle trucks cost a minimum of $2,500 for a basic paint job – that’s two years’ salary in Pakistan for most drivers.
Then they come back every few years to get a touch up so that their vehicle looks fresh.
Ornate designs could cost ten times that amount.
It’s more than a business expense.
Truck art in Pakistan is also a ritual that encourages the Sufi tradition of painting shrines.
The truckers spend more on their vehicles than their homes, which means a proper paint job was necessary to honor it.