Made Here: The Beautiful Painted Trucks of Pakistan

Truck art in Pakistan has its origins dating back to the 1920s, when Bedford trucks imported from England took over the country’s streets. Companies would decorate their trucks with their logos, which helped illiterate working-class laborers to identify them. These Bedford trucks came to dominate Pakistan’s roads. The ornate art is more than just cultural expression — it’s also a deeply rooted tradition that can cause a business boom for drivers. The more elaborate the design, the better the business. Artists, like Haider Ali, paint a range of scenes and objects, from vivid mountain valleys to beautiful portrayals of animals and flowers. Some prefer spiritual symbols of power, or even lines from poems. While the truck owners contribute to the concept, the artist and the depths of their imagination have the final say.