By Adeel Saeed
PESHAWAR, Sep 8 (APP): The skill of truck art, decoration of heavy vehicles with floral patterns, pictures, poetry and calligraphy is gaining popularity day by day not only in Pakistan but across the globe.
The truck art genre dates back to 1920 and the ancient designs hugely inspire the western people including the foreign tourists.
It is said that the truck owners or drivers get their trucks painted with the Flora (Flowers) and fauna (Animals ) of the region to which they belong or the political and showbiz personalities they like. The truck art genre dating back to 1920 is now serving as a source of publicity to promote the message of girls’ rights in Pakistan.
Heavy trucks and even Rickshaws (tri-wheelers) are seen in major cities of the country carrying messages on rear of the vehicles inscribed with wordings about promotion of girl’s rights in society.
The unique idea has made hundreds of trucks plying from Karachi to Khyber district near Torkhem border as moving billboards carrying messages for empowerment of female folks.
Trucks portraying pictures of a girl carrying a school bag and inscription like `Going to school is my right’ or `Education is also necessary for me’ has become a common sight in the country.
The past practice of watching huge portraits of film heroins on back of the goods laden trucks has now turned into inspirational messages reminding and motivating the onlookers about rights of womenfolk in Pakistan.
The idea of converting moving billboards (trucks) from carrying pictures of film actresses and politicians to motivational messages was brainchild of Samar Minallah, a renowned social worker, anthropologist, documentary filmmaker and architect of this programme.
Talking to APP, Samar Minallah said she had this idea in mind and through her discussions with international organizations like Asian Development Bank (ADB) and UNESCO, she succeeded in making them agree to finance a project of spreading awareness through truck art.
Samar Minallah said that Truck art was a big source of publicity as the vehicle roamed from Khyber to Karachi and its target audience was rural population.
Apart from promotion of girls right, truck art can also be used for conveying the messages for attainment of other positive trends in society, she opined.
Majority of the drivers were found very positive and gave encouraging response about the objective of painting on rear of their vehicles, she said adding,without their (drivers) cooperation, it was almost impossible to execute the idea and, “we are very much thankful to them for their cooperation and support for this sacred cause.
Hayat Khan, an artist of truck art in Peshawar has reserved his workshop for painting of vehicles with inspirational messages.
Drivers mostly like pictures of female actresses, gun toting cinema heroes or of a politician, Hayat told APP.“It was quite strange for him and drivers as well, but through proper counselling by Samar and her team members we all agree for accepting the change,” he continued.
ADB and UNESCO both signed MoUs with Hayat Khan for payment of paintings on trucks about girl’s rights and female education, respectively.
Like Hayat Khan, some workshop owners in Hazara region of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa and other major cities of the country including Karachi, Lahore, Rawalpindi, Multan and D.I.Khan were also cooperating for curbing of ill practices denying female folk from getting its religious, moral and constitutional rights.
“Pakistan’s truck art is also getting international recognition and even in developed countries people are imitating this skill to decorate their vehicles,” says Zahoor Durrani, Managing Director Sehari Travel and pioneer of Khyber Steam Safari Train in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa.
Talking to APP, Durrani said tourists visiting Pakistan from Europe and USA were taking the idea of truck arts back to their countries and replicating it by making such imprints and decorations on their vehicles.
In United Kingdom, he added, an exhibition of Pakistani Truck art was also held and received a lot of liking and appreciation from visitors.
He said, “The paintings on heavy vehicles reflect the aesthetic sense of our artists whose folks images and drawing attract international attention.”
Zahoor Durrani also apprised APP that at tourists’ exhibitions organized at national and even international levels, “We also display truck art for amusement of visitors.”He said huge murals are displayed at exhibitions and visitors make selfies by standing in front of painting of truck arts.
Durrani stressed the need for official patronage to such artists who are engaged in truck art by providing them support and engaging them in such projects like of girl’s education.
This is a very big source of publicity to use truck art for promotion of important messages because the trucks ply in every nook and corner of the country and can easily spread the message inscribed on the back of the vehicles, Durrani suggested.