In pictures: Trucks in Pakistan adopt colorful makeover
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In pictures: Trucks in Pakistan adopt colorful makeover

THEY pollute the roads and chug along at a snail’s pace, but to their Pakistani owners the rickety trucks are moving pieces of art, commanding attention with garish portraits of flowers, Islamic art and snow-capped Himalayan peaks.

South Asian “truck art” has become a global phenomenon, inspiring gallery exhibitions abroad and prompting stores in posh London neighborhoods to sell flamboyant miniature pieces.

Yet closer to home some people sneer and refuse to call it “art”.

For the drivers, the designs that turn decades-old vehicles into moving murals are often about local pride. Picking the right color or animal portrait is tougher than the countless hours spent on the road.

Truck driver Haji Ali Bahadur, who hails from the tribal belt bordering Afghanistan, said green and yellow had been his colours of choice during the 40 years behind the wheel.

“We, the drivers of Khyber, Mohmand and other tribal regions like flowers on the edge of the vehicles,” he said. “The people of Swat, South Waziristan and Kashmir region like portraits of mountains and different wild animals.”

Truck art has become one of Pakistan’s best-known cultural exports, and offshoot toy and furniture industries have been spawned closer to home.

With Pakistan’s economy picking up speed and new roads opening up trade routes to China, truck art may soon find new admirers abroad.

Text and photos from Reuters

In pictures: Trucks in Pakistan adopt colorful makeover

Plastic bottles used to store water and a tire stopper are wedged on the side of a decorated truck in Faisalabad.

In pictures: Trucks in Pakistan adopt colorful makeover  In pictures: Trucks in Pakistan adopt colorful makeover

Speakers and a fan are seen in the cab of a decorated truck.

In pictures: Trucks in Pakistan adopt colorful makeover  In pictures: Trucks in Pakistan adopt colorful makeover  In pictures: Trucks in Pakistan adopt colorful makeover

A worker washes a decorated truck in Peshawar.

In pictures: Trucks in Pakistan adopt colorful makeover  In pictures: Trucks in Pakistan adopt colorful makeover  In pictures: Trucks in Pakistan adopt colorful makeover  In pictures: Trucks in Pakistan adopt colorful makeover

A driver holds open the door of the carved wood cab of his decorated truck.

In pictures: Trucks in Pakistan adopt colorful makeover  In pictures: Trucks in Pakistan adopt colorful makeover  In pictures: Trucks in Pakistan adopt colorful makeover  In pictures: Trucks in Pakistan adopt colorful makeover  In pictures: Trucks in Pakistan adopt colorful makeover

Decorations cover the gear shift of a decorated truck.

In pictures: Trucks in Pakistan adopt colorful makeover  In pictures: Trucks in Pakistan adopt colorful makeover  In pictures: Trucks in Pakistan adopt colorful makeover  In pictures: Trucks in Pakistan adopt colorful makeover  In pictures: Trucks in Pakistan adopt colorful makeover  In pictures: Trucks in Pakistan adopt colorful makeover

Boys pose for a picture in front of a truck.

In pictures: Trucks in Pakistan adopt colorful makeover  In pictures: Trucks in Pakistan adopt colorful makeover  In pictures: Trucks in Pakistan adopt colorful makeover  In pictures: Trucks in Pakistan adopt colorful makeover  In pictures: Trucks in Pakistan adopt colorful makeover  In pictures: Trucks in Pakistan adopt colorful makeover  In pictures: Trucks in Pakistan adopt colorful makeover

Scenes of Islam’s holy sites in Mecca and Medina are seen on a decorated truck.

In pictures: Trucks in Pakistan adopt colorful makeover  In pictures: Trucks in Pakistan adopt colorful makeover  In pictures: Trucks in Pakistan adopt colorful makeover  In pictures: Trucks in Pakistan adopt colorful makeover  In pictures: Trucks in Pakistan adopt colorful makeover  In pictures: Trucks in Pakistan adopt colorful makeover  In pictures: Trucks in Pakistan adopt colorful makeover  In pictures: Trucks in Pakistan adopt colorful makeover

Workers unload fruit from a decorated truck at the wholesale produce market in Faisalabad.

In pictures: Trucks in Pakistan adopt colorful makeover  In pictures: Trucks in Pakistan adopt colorful makeover  In pictures: Trucks in Pakistan adopt colorful makeover  In pictures: Trucks in Pakistan adopt colorful makeover  In pictures: Trucks in Pakistan adopt colorful makeover  In pictures: Trucks in Pakistan adopt colorful makeover  In pictures: Trucks in Pakistan adopt colorful makeover  In pictures: Trucks in Pakistan adopt colorful makeover  In pictures: Trucks in Pakistan adopt colorful makeover

Artwork adorns a truck’s tire.

In pictures: Trucks in Pakistan adopt colorful makeover  In pictures: Trucks in Pakistan adopt colorful makeover  In pictures: Trucks in Pakistan adopt colorful makeover  In pictures: Trucks in Pakistan adopt colorful makeover  In pictures: Trucks in Pakistan adopt colorful makeover  In pictures: Trucks in Pakistan adopt colorful makeover  In pictures: Trucks in Pakistan adopt colorful makeover  In pictures: Trucks in Pakistan adopt colorful makeover  In pictures: Trucks in Pakistan adopt colorful makeover  In pictures: Trucks in Pakistan adopt colorful makeover

Drivers rest on beds at a truck stop outside Faisalabad.

In pictures: Trucks in Pakistan adopt colorful makeover  In pictures: Trucks in Pakistan adopt colorful makeover  In pictures: Trucks in Pakistan adopt colorful makeover  In pictures: Trucks in Pakistan adopt colorful makeover  In pictures: Trucks in Pakistan adopt colorful makeover  In pictures: Trucks in Pakistan adopt colorful makeover  In pictures: Trucks in Pakistan adopt colorful makeover  In pictures: Trucks in Pakistan adopt colorful makeover  In pictures: Trucks in Pakistan adopt colorful makeover  In pictures: Trucks in Pakistan adopt colorful makeover  In pictures: Trucks in Pakistan adopt colorful makeover

Workers load straw onto a decorated truck.

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