Pakistani Truck Art Soars to New Heights

These moving murals will soon take to the skies on Cessna aircraft.

Feb 12, 2021
Pakistani Truck Art Soars to New Heights | These moving murals will soon take to the skies on Cessna aircraft.

A brightly-colored, elaborately painted truck rumbling down a highway or city street would instantly turn heads in most countries in the world, but in Pakistan, truck art is simply a part of everyday life and a way to attract business. These eye-catching trucks are an inseparable part of the South Asian country’s landscape.

The content of the truck paintings vary by region and the artist’s preferences. Some are adorned with images of figures from local folklore and cinema, while others depict highly detailed floral patterns, animals, and calligraphy. 

But now, these moving murals aren’t limited to ground transportation. Haider Ali, a local truck mural painter, was hired by Karachi flight school Sky Wings to cover its planes in vibrant designs. The Cessna 2-seater aircraft will bring this distinctly Pakistani art form to new horizons.

“We want to show the world that Pakistan is...a very diverse country and a land of opportunities,” Imran Aslam Khan, chief operating officer of Sky Wings, told Reuters. He added that he hoped the project would help boost tourism to Pakistan.

Haider Ali said that he was proud to elevate Pakistan’s artistic heritage to new heights. “Truck art represents our country,” Ali said. “Now we will send a new thing to the world in the form of this airplane. The world is familiar with our truck art... now, with this aircraft, our colors will fly in the air.”

Patiently trained by his father in the art of truck painting since he was just eight years old, Ali is now an expert who teaches the craft to others. He brought his students along with him to Sky Wings, and said that the project was a dream come true.

“My students and I are enjoying this experience,” he said. “There is not much difference between a truck and an airplane. I have always wanted to paint an aircraft and God fulfilled my wish.”

In the future, Ali said, he’d love to paint a large plane, such as an Airbus or Boeing aircraft. It wouldn’t be the first time Ali’s painting skills were put to the test abroad. According to Fast Company, he painted a full-size truck for the Smithsonian Institution Folklife Festival and completed a 3-truck commission job for USC’s Pacific Asia Museum.

For the people of Pakistan, truck art represents much more than visually interesting design. As the developing country has struggled with poverty and other challenges, this local artform has become a major source of national pride. And now, with truck art going sky high, the people of Pakistan can be prouder than ever of their artistic contribution to the world.

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Fascinated by storytelling since childhood, Lauren is passionate about the written word. She’s a freelance writer who has covered everything from the latest developments in tech to geopolitics. When she’s not writing, Lauren is interested in genealogical research and family folklore.