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A man paints a two-seater Cessna aircraft with Pakistani truck art at Jinnah International Airport, Dec 30, 2020. — Reuters

From the highways to the skies: Pakistan's famous truck art goes airborne

With elaborate and flamboyant motifs, truck art is one of Pakistan’s best known cultural exports and inspires exhibitions abroad.
Published 01 Jan, 2021 03:26pm

Pakistan’s famous truck art will move from its highways to the skies, as a flying academy is painting a two-seater Cessna aircraft with the colourful technique.

With elaborate and flamboyant motifs, Pakistani truck art has inspired gallery exhibitions abroad and prompted stores in Western cities to sell miniatures.

A man paints Pakistani truck art on a two-seater Cessna aircraft at general aviation area at Jinnah International Airport, Dec 30, 2020. — Reuters
A man paints Pakistani truck art on a two-seater Cessna aircraft at general aviation area at Jinnah International Airport, Dec 30, 2020. — Reuters

“We want to show the world that Pakistan is not all about [the] Financial Action Task Force (FATF) and terrorism issues; it [is] a very diverse country and a land of opportunities,” Imran Aslam Khan, chief operating officer of Sky Wings, a flight training organisation, told Reuters.

Imran Aslam Khan, Chief Operating Officer of Sky Wings, poses with a two-seater Cessna aircraft painted with Pakistani truck art in the background, at Jinnah International Airport, Karachi, Dec 30, 2020. — Reuters
Imran Aslam Khan, Chief Operating Officer of Sky Wings, poses with a two-seater Cessna aircraft painted with Pakistani truck art in the background, at Jinnah International Airport, Karachi, Dec 30, 2020. — Reuters

He also plans to paint other aircraft, with the aim of promoting tourism in Pakistan.

Such art has become one of Pakistan’s best known cultural exports in recent years. UNESCO, for example, has been using truck art, blended with indigenous themes, to promote girls’ education in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa.

A two-seater Cessna aircraft painted with Pakistani truck art is seen at Jinnah International Airport, Karachi, Dec 30, 2020. — Reuters
A two-seater Cessna aircraft painted with Pakistani truck art is seen at Jinnah International Airport, Karachi, Dec 30, 2020. — Reuters

“The world is familiar with our truck art representation; now, with this aircraft, our colours will fly in the air. We are really excited,” Haider Ali, the artist painting the aircraft, told Reuters at the academy’s hangar.

Painter Haider Ali paints Pakistani truck art on a two-seater Cessna aircraft at the Jinnah International Airport, Karachi, Dec 30, 2020. — Reuters
Painter Haider Ali paints Pakistani truck art on a two-seater Cessna aircraft at the Jinnah International Airport, Karachi, Dec 30, 2020. — Reuters

Trained by his father, Ali, 40, has been decorating trucks since his childhood and is now one of the most prominent such painters in Pakistan.

Haider Ali decorates a two-seater Cessna aircraft with Pakistani truck art at Jinnah International Airport, Karachi, Dec 30, 2020. — Reuters
Haider Ali decorates a two-seater Cessna aircraft with Pakistani truck art at Jinnah International Airport, Karachi, Dec 30, 2020. — Reuters

Ali hopes to paint an Airbus or Boeing aircraft in the future, saying an opportunity to work on such gargantuan planes would truly be a learning experience.

Haider Ali, 40 (R) and his student paint Pakistani truck art on a two-seater Cessna aircraft at general aviation area at Jinnah International Airport, Karachi, Dec 30, 2020. — Reuters
Haider Ali, 40 (R) and his student paint Pakistani truck art on a two-seater Cessna aircraft at general aviation area at Jinnah International Airport, Karachi, Dec 30, 2020. — Reuters

A technician walks past a two-seater Cessna aircraft painted with Pakistani truck art at Jinnah International Airport, Karachi, Dec 30, 2020. — Reuters
A technician walks past a two-seater Cessna aircraft painted with Pakistani truck art at Jinnah International Airport, Karachi, Dec 30, 2020. — Reuters

Men paint Pakistani truck art on a two-seater Cessna aircraft at general aviation area at Jinnah International Airport, Karachi, Dec 30, 2020. — Reuters
Men paint Pakistani truck art on a two-seater Cessna aircraft at general aviation area at Jinnah International Airport, Karachi, Dec 30, 2020. — Reuters


Header image: A man paints Pakistani truck art on a two-seater Cessna aircraft at general aviation area at Jinnah International Airport in Karachi, December 30, 2020. – Reuters