Tuesday, July 3, 2007

More on the Pakistani Truck

Remember my picture of the Pakistani truck that I took before this year's Smithsonian Folklife Festival? Well, it turns out there are other pictures of the truck. And there's a lot more information, going back to 2002:

Once roads in Pakistan and Afghanistan were full of brightly decorated wagons, ox carts, and other vehicles, along with the animals that pulled them; today these decorative arts have been applied to elaborately painted trucks. In the past 50 years the decorative styles have increased dramatically, with each region of Pakistan developing its own distinctive motifs and decorations, such as landscapes, important monuments, and pithy sayings and poems....

The truck featured at the Smithsonian Folklife Festival combines elements of different regional styles: carved wooden doors common in Swat and Peshawar, camel bone and white plastic inlay typical of Sindh, peacock motifs found mostly in the Punjab and Sindh. Stainless steel designs are common to all regions. The paintings include scenes from throughout Pakistan and others from right here on the National Mall, at the [2002] Folklife Festival.

And there's more (from Travel Sense):

I could go on and on about the Folklife Festival, but I’ll confine myself to one particular year, which was surely the most outstanding to date. In addition to the Smithsonian, The Silk Road Festival of 2002 was sponsored by an impressive array of backers, such as cellist Yo-Yo Ma and the Aga Khan Trust. It was an all-out two-week extravaganza that attempted to bring to Washington the cultures and ambience of the traditional trade route that stretches from Venice, Italy to Nara, Japan....

Each day I visited the Silk Road Festival – I spent several days there and still didn’t manage to take it all in – I stopped to see what progress was being made on the Pakistani painted truck....

The Smithsonian brought two of the best truck painters from Pakistan to create a unique festival-themed vehicle, and this proved to be one of the biggest hits of the festival. The two young men spoke only Urdu, with barely a word of English between them -- indeed, when the festival organizers first visited Karachi and asked them to come to the festival, the two had thought the request was a joke. However, before long they found themselves on a jet plane headed for Washington, where they managed to communicate quite well with gestures and smiles alone. They set up “shop” on the Mall and began transforming a battered gray 1976 Bedford truck into a thing of beauty. They also spent a great deal of time posing for pictures and lapping up the attention their brightly colored and lavishly festooned truck was getting. The two men seemed absolutely dazed by the warm reception they received. And the truck? It held pride of place for months afterwards on the lawn in front of the Sackler Museum of Asian Art before eventually being moved to an indoor location.

Although, as of mid-June, it was outdoors again.

More information here and here. Also check my "design" del.icio.us link below.


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