2013 Roundup: Truck art exhibitions and displays

Around the world, truck art from Pakistan was celebrated and often combined with local cultural traditions.

In September, truck art was prominently featured at the Hindu festival Durga Puja in Calcutta. Though he traveled to India with the expectation that he would be painting a truck, artist Haider Ali painted one of the pandals, or structures used to carry the Gods, that are paraded during the festival. Truck art was selected as a theme for the Durga Puja because of its potential to build relations between the two nations. The music and film stars who are common subjects of truck murals, such as Madhuri Dixit and Ataullah Khan, are an important common element. The Daily Mail has some pictures of the pandal while Haider Ali was painting.

In a similar message to the event in Calcutta, Haider Ali also painted a truck at the Wagah border crossing between India and Pakistan in August.

The same artist, Haider Ali, also was at the center of an Ottawa exhibition of truck art in October as well as events in Mississauga and Toronto, Canada earlier in the year that were well received. Haider Ali was also in Istanbul, where he painted a bus celebrating ties between Pakistan and Turkey.

A Glasgow exhibit featured truck art specifically from Punjab. Unfortunately, media coverage of the event does not include pictures, though it does mention that “In a prison in Glasgow, however, inmates have responded to truck art in a more basic way. “They found it macho and created truck art-inspired works of their own”.

Truck art was exhibited in Rome, Italy and in Japan. In April, truck art was again displayed at the Islamabad center of culture, Lok Virsa, featuring artist Habib ur Rehman and some of his pieces.