In this fictional tribute to a very popular art form—truck art—in Pakistan, a seasoned truck driver reminisces about his career and ruminates on the evolution of truck art.
Chinar Gul finally pays off the loan on his truck and travels over 200 miles to a truck-yard for his friend Zarrar, an artist, to paint it. This is no ordinary paint job. Truck art merges many art forms: painting, carpentry, calligraphy, metallurgy, and bazaar art (portraits, landscapes, and iconic representations of birds and animals) and is often personalized. Chinar likens it to “getting your house done up. It makes it welcoming and your own.” Chinar was a truck cleaner before eventually becoming a driver, wending his way along the treacherous mountain roads for 30 years. To have his own truck is “a dream of a lifetime” for him, and Zarrar proclaims, “This truck’s got to be special.” Chinar agrees. After Zarrar inscribes “Mashallah” on the crown of Chinar’s truck for divine protection, he paints mountain animals and landscapes on the sides. Accompanying the substantial text, monochromatic line drawings contrast effectively with the kaleidoscopic patterns and creatures on the trucks, illustrating how the resplendent beauty of truck art can brighten up an otherwise dreary, hard life.
A fascinating glimpse into the lives and work of an intriguing yet largely unfamiliar segment of society (and culture), both through the gorgeous art and the fascinating story. (author’s note) (Picture book. 4-10)