The Grand Trunk Road - Decorated Trucks in India and Pakistan
Popular Images and Motifs
Since the master painter has to create such a large number of different images from a huge repertoire, he first speaks to the truck owner to understand what he likes and dislikes:
“People want different things. There’s eight or ten different styles of work and you have to go with what the truck owner wants. There’s different styles of writing as well. It also depends how much someone wants to pay – you know how it is, the more you invest the better the work! So we fix a price first and we find out what they want. If you want sceneries of Islamabad, we do that. If you want peacocks and bouquets, we can do that. If there’s something you don’t like, then we won’t paint it. You see there’s full decoration where we don’t leave anything bare – the whole body of the truck is covered with design. Then there’s half decoration where we don’t cover the body completely - it is very detailed, very intricate, but you can see the background colour of the truck. They also tell us what they want us to write on the truck. Generally the motifs are our choice – birds, animals, peacocks, parrots, flowers, bouquets, pair of eyes, planes, sceneries, mountains, whatever we like. But you won’t get a truck that only has flowers or only birds. No, it will have a bit of everything. It’s just decoration, isn’t it!"
“There’s no book that we get all this from – it just comes out of your mind. You paint what you fancy. You just have to cover a lot of space, don’t you.”
See where Islamabad is. A popular place for painted scenarios.»