In Pakistan there is a tradition of decorating the trucks that are the work horses for moving goods across that country with elaborate and colourful designs. This truck art is a really powerful way for ordinary people to express themselves artistically and it can have great religious and cultural symbolism. It is a folk art tradition that has striking similarities with caravan painting or the tradition of decorating narrow boats here in England.
Now, this tradition of truck art has come to Luton.
Last Monday I went to the opening of the new special exhibition of truck art at Luton’s Stockwood Discovery Centre. The centre piece of which is a vintage Bedford Truck painted by a group of young Luton people with the help of professional artists in a style inspired by the Pakistani Truck Art.
I think it is a project that is really fitting to take place in Luton. Not only does Luton have a large community of Pakistani origin but the Bedford trucks that are so often decorated in this way were of course made locally.
The Project is organised by Luton Culture and is a part of Eastern Exchanges – a London 2012 Cultural Olympiad Stories of the World programme. The project has also had great support from the Pakistani High Commission and the Pakistani government.
- You can find out more about the project on the truck art blog.
- For more about the tradition of truck art in Pakistan you might find this BBC report interesting.
The exhibition will be open until the 29th May at Stockwood Discovery Centre.