Moneycontrol PRO
Upcoming Event : LeapToUnicorn - mentoring, networking and fundraising for startups. Register now
you are here: HomeNewsPhotosWorld

Pakistani truck artist gives new flair to kicks

Pakistan's lorries are renowned for 'truck art', candy-coloured murals depicting South Asian animals, celebrities and religious icons. The tradition transforms the highways and cities into kaleidoscopic processions.

March 17, 2022 / 05:19 PM IST
Haider Ali dabs a brush with an iridescent glob of paint and gets to work on a pair of sparkling white trainers -- his latest canvas for a carnival of colour celebrating Pakistani culture. (Source: AFP)
Haider Ali dabs a brush with an iridescent glob of paint and gets to work on a pair of sparkling white trainers -- his latest canvas for a carnival of colour celebrating Pakistani culture. (Source: AFP)
Pakistan's lorries are renowned for "truck art": candy-coloured murals depicting South Asian animals, celebrities and religious icons. The tradition transforms the highways and cities into kaleidoscopic processions. (Source: AFP)
Pakistan's lorries are renowned for 'truck art', candy-coloured murals depicting South Asian animals, celebrities and religious icons. The tradition transforms the highways and cities into kaleidoscopic processions. (Source: AFP)
And now Ali -- a veteran truck artist -- has transposed the painting onto sneakers. "A client came to me from the US asking me to paint shoes," he explained. "I told him an exorbitant fee to discourage him but he agreed, so I decided to get on with it." (Source: AFP)
And now Ali -- a veteran truck artist -- has transposed the painting onto sneakers. "A client came to me from the US asking me to paint shoes," he explained. "I told him an exorbitant fee to discourage him but he agreed, so I decided to get on with it." (Source: AFP)
He labours on each pair for up to four days, charging select clients $400 for a set featuring bespoke patterns and motifs. (Source: AFP)
He labours on each pair for up to four days, charging select clients $400 for a set featuring bespoke patterns and motifs. (Source: AFP)
Since he started painting trainers in January, he has dispatched eight pairs -- to places in Pakistan and abroad -- with new orders arriving every four days after a surge of social media interest. "The ideas keep coming to me," the 42-year-old mused. "It's in human nature to decorate ourselves and the things around us." (Source: AFP)
Since he started painting trainers in January, he has dispatched eight pairs -- to places in Pakistan and abroad -- with new orders arriving every four days after a surge of social media interest. "The ideas keep coming to me," the 42-year-old mused. "It's in human nature to decorate ourselves and the things around us." (Source: AFP)
Cross-legged in his Karachi rooftop studio, he flips a pair of high-top Nikes to reveal the image of a luminous pink hawk and a gazing yellow eye, framed by hypnotic bulbous fringes. (Source: AFP)
Cross-legged in his Karachi rooftop studio, he flips a pair of high-top Nikes to reveal the image of a luminous pink hawk and a gazing yellow eye, framed by hypnotic bulbous fringes. (Source: AFP)
Another pair ready for shipping bears a shimmering peacock. (Source: AFP)
Another pair ready for shipping bears a shimmering peacock. (Source: AFP)
Ali comes from a family of truck artists, who eked out a living at the roadside yards where drivers eagerly surrender slim pay packets to decorate their vehicles. Strolling through the Yusuf Goth truck yard, his tinted glasses and slight swagger lend him an air of celebrity. (Source: AFP)
Ali comes from a family of truck artists, who eked out a living at the roadside yards where drivers eagerly surrender slim pay packets to decorate their vehicles. Strolling through the Yusuf Goth truck yard, his tinted glasses and slight swagger lend him an air of celebrity. (Source: AFP)
He came to fame outside Pakistan when his work was exhibited at the US Smithsonian Museum in 2002, helping him hone a reputation as an international ambassador for truck art. He has applied his craft to a plane, a VW Beetle, and even a woman's body at the Burning Man festival in the United States. (Source: AFP)
He came to fame outside Pakistan when his work was exhibited at the US Smithsonian Museum in 2002, helping him hone a reputation as an international ambassador for truck art. He has applied his craft to a plane, a VW Beetle, and even a woman's body at the Burning Man festival in the United States. (Source: AFP)
Ali's cottage industry offers numerous advantages. He is stowed away from the din of the roadside yards, and his fashion clients give him full creative freedom, unlike truck drivers who peer over his shoulder. But as with trucks, the decoration on shoes will not last forever. After three or four years, it will chafe, crack and fade -- offering a fresh canvas for yet more artwork. (Source: AFP)
Ali's cottage industry offers numerous advantages. He is stowed away from the din of the roadside yards, and his fashion clients give him full creative freedom, unlike truck drivers who peer over his shoulder. But as with trucks, the decoration on shoes will not last forever. After three or four years, it will chafe, crack and fade -- offering a fresh canvas for yet more artwork. (Source: AFP)
AFP
first published: Mar 17, 2022 05:19 pm