The IVS gallery had not many visitors on a Wednesday evening, given that holidays have started on campus. In light of this, there was a certain thrill to observing these astounding works by myself in an air-conditioned gallery on a hot summer evening. The two well-lit atriums of the gallery featured colorful paintings atop walls which could not have been completed in just a week-long workshop. The intricate floral patterns, detailed scenic backgrounds and brightly worked pictures of local animals and veiled women set in with the relaxed atmosphere. The basic aim of Truck Art, or ‘Phool Patti’ as it was initially called, is to develop complex images by synchronizing western designs with those of Pakistan’s folk culture. The images displayed at the IVS gallery effortlessly fulfilled this purpose, embedding deeper meanings into the paintings by bringing in each artist’s unique mindset and regional heritage. Many Foundation Program painters also drew mountains, valleys and rivers as backgrounds, alluding to the Pashtun origins of most truck drivers.
Upon closer inspection, one could vividly observe the flawless detail in each of these hand-made works. The tone-perfect strokes around the edges of many paintings evoked a glistening aura, swiftly informing the viewer of the meticulous work that goes into Truck Art. The aluminum foil (or chamak patti) used at the corners of several canvasses enabled a quick shift of gaze to virtual images of shiny trucks, rickshaws and buses occasionally seen on the roads of Karachi. Mushy one-liners on the paintings, such as ‘faasla rakh, warna pyaar hojayay ga’ furthered this connection with emotion-ridden slogans on the back of many local locomotives in the city.
Click to view picture gallery
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