Lanterns, mugs, cups, kettles and jugs painted in colourful floral patterns are just a few examples of Pakistan’s well-known Truck Art tradition that have been brought here by an NGO from the country that is participating in the ongoing annual Dastkari Haat Samiti festival.

Idara-e-Taleem-o-Aagahi, an NGO that promotes education among children, is showcasing the traditional craft of painting on trucks — by transfering the images on items of everyday use — during the festival at the Dilli Haat that will continue till Jan 7.

“The items we have brought here have been painted by children to whom we provide education. They have been very much liked by the people here and most of our stuff has already been sold. We were not expecting this response, it has exceeded our expectations,” Idara-e-Taleem-o-Aagahi coordinator Kiran Khan said.

“Pakistani Truck Art is about cultural history and tradition, storytelling and passion and has elements of political and national life, religious symbols and images. It is very popular back home and the reason for bringing this art here is to introduce the concept to the Indian people,” she added.

Truck Art is an ingenious Pakistani tradition that started way back in the early 1920s when, to beat competition, transportation companies hired craftsmen to adorn their trucks with artworks in the hope that these moving canvases would attract more custom.

The craftsmen would adorn trucks with colourful floral patterns, calligraphy of poetic verses and “driver’s words of wisdom”, as also images of popular politicians and actors, a tradition that continues till this day.

According to Khan, each area of Pakistan has different Truck Art sensibilities and unique story-telling abilities.

“Each province in Pakistan has its own distinct style of truck painting. While Sindh is famous for its camelbone work, the artists of Rawalpindi and Islamabad prefer to work with plastic. Be it the materials or the colours used, the overall image that is depicted represents our cultural history and heritage,” Khan said.

The lanterns at the NGO’s stall are priced at Rs.800 and the kettles at upwards of Rs.250, while the cups and mugs are priced at Rs.100 to Rs.250.

Former Indian cricketer Ajay Jadeja, who, along with his wife, shopped for these items, was totally impressed with this art form.

“They are so colourful and vibrant that they easily catch your attention. We have purchased lanterns and mugs. We wanted a bigger kettle, but it was already sold out so we had to settle for a smaller one,” Jadeja said.

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