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Bringing Pakistan's truck art into your living room!
Anjum Rana's personal journey

Anjum Rana represents the new Pakistani woman: entrepreneurial, accomplished and creative- one that the West does not get to hear of very often. A respected interior designer who restores and reproduces antique furniture; a qualified therapist; she is also a film- maker with an eye for the extraordinary in everyday life.

It is this discerning eye that has always made her appreciate what most of us dismiss, or even ridicule, or take for granted at best. Yet, she realized a long time ago- what anthropologists in the West have started taking notice of: that the exuberant and flamboyant style of Pakistani Truck Art is not only a legitimate and distinct folk art, but also represents the values and aspirations of vast majorities of Pakistanis.

Anjum Rana has made it her goal to bring this art into the mainstream, into our homes, and give it the recognition it so richly deserves. She has worked in close association with master craftsmen like Haji Ghulam Sarwar who is a Master Truck Painter with his own workshop. She directs them in painting their richly textured motifs on everyday objects that are usually connected in some way with the everyday life of the truckers.

Truck Art Home Accessories

Truck art items range from the purely decorative to the functional. There are items for the living areas, garden/patio, dressing table, desk, and other miscellaneous gift items. Hand-made miniature versions of trucks are not just great toys and decoration pieces- but unforgettable souvenirs from Pakistan. Tribal Truck Art has produced trucks with a high level of detail: original motifs, bad poetry and reflective tape decorations. Another inexpensive souvenir item are Postcards depicting truck art objects as well as popular motifs. The website: www.tribaltruckart.com describes truck art and the significance of truck art motifs, explaining how these magnificently decorated trucks are not just galleries on wheels exhibiting this folk art peculiar to Pakistan, but an anthropological study and essay on the hopes and aspirations of its people.

Enameled utensils are commonly used in dhabbas , or road-side restaurants frequented by truck drivers along the highways. Once painted, they are not to be used for wet food stuffs, but may be used for serving nuts, placing keys and other knick knacks, or just as decorative pieces. These include different sized bowls, plates, Jugs, buckets, traditional milk containers, kettles and teapots.

Thus, with Anjum Rana's efforts: Tribal Truck Art's simple kettles, lanterns, oil-lamps, boxes etc, become collectible home accessories, the truck painters have a new source of income and their art- a new legitimacy!

By Zarminae Ansari

Zarminae Ansari is an architect with a Masters from Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) in Architecture History, Theory and Criticism. She is currently researching a book on Contemporary Architecture in Pakistan and is a freelance journalist for publications in Pakistan and the UAE. Ms. Ansari currently resides in UAE.

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