Lok Virsa, the Pakistani Cultural Heritage Museum in Islamabad, has been aggresively publicizing their new truck art exhibit. Lok Virsa has ample room for a large truck art display. The museum itself is impressive for its size and its exhaustive collection of anything related to Pakistani culture. It takes well more than an hour to casually walk through the dozens of halls. Yet the area dedicated to truck art is just one glass-encased part of a room. Despite its billing, the installation is a bit underwhelming.
The publicity leads the visitor to expect a substantial display with multiple types of truck art or some insight into the history.
The truck art display centers around a “truck stop”, or tea house. Viewers see the mounted front of a truck with full embellishment, next to the carriage of a truck with a colorful mural. In front of both truck sections are some uninspired mannequins dressed in shalwar khameez sitting and drinking tea. A sign says that this is supposed to represent a Pakistani truck stop, but it doesn’t compare to a visit one of the real teastops or workshops just fifteen minutes away from the museum.
Like much of the museum, there is minimal signage or instructions that provide context to the display. To the true truck art aficionado it may be worth a visit as it is the only museum in Islamabad with truck art. The museum itself is more of an attraction, with its seemingly never ending series of displays. But the lackluster truck art presentation does not begin to capture its visual intensity and cultural relevance.