The BBC on Truck Art

The BBC has aired one of the more entertaining pieces of television coverage on truck art in its “Close Up” segment. Host Aleem Maqbool first visits the truck repair shops at Pir Wadhai, then the tribal truck art galleries, and finishes with a gift from one of the “famous” truck artists.

Click to play the segment

The artist featured at the end of the segment who prepares Maqbool’s portrait, deserves recognition. Though he may have the name wrong; Maqbool introduces him as Habib ur-Rehman, but his business card reads Al-Habib Ejaz. Regardless, not only is he the painter behind the Foxy Shehzad and responsible for many of the works in the Tribal Truck Art collection, he is possibly the first truck artist to have a Facebook page, albeit an underdeveloped one.

Appropriately, the segment even finds a rear “Love” painting to emphasize the origins of the art. Given that there is only so much explanation that can be included in a five-minute piece, this is a great way to capture the motivation behind vehicular artists.

Spending more time at the Pir Wadhai shops, Maqbool focuses on painted truck art. At about the 2:47 mark, he gives a nod to decoration pieces, pointing to an excellent peacock. The passing mention overlooks that the decoration piece can serve as a centerpiece and the most captivating, attention-generating part of the truck.

I have highlighted the Volkswagen Beetle at 3:00 elsewhere in the blog. The reporter would have done well to mention that cars decorated in the tradition of truck art are atypical for Pakistan. A painted car is about as unusual as an unpainted truck.

A painter mentions preparing a picture of Osama bin Laden at his customer’s request. I have never seen his likeness in truck art before. It might be more provocative than other visages of political figures, but is certainly well within the range of truck art.