Pakistani art: A melting pot of prominent cultures

Pakistan’s culture and society have been significantly influenced by diverse ethnic groups living in the country. Punjabis, Kashmiris, Sindhis, Balochis, Siraikis, Pakhtuns and Muhajirs have all contributed to our cultural heritage and art over many decades. The art in Pakistan has also been greatly influenced by various regions in the neighbourhood. Notable influences include the Persian Empire along with the Afghan and Mughal Empire. The colonial regime, more popularly known as British Raj also influenced the forms of fine arts in the country.However, over the decades and various influences, one thing which still remains consistent in Pakistani art is vibrant colours. Bright colours have always been the major attraction and hence, it is no surprise that local crafts and clothing all consist of a wide spectrum of colours.Over the years, ethnic art and crafts have gained popularity on such a large scale that these symbols of trucks have now moved onto objects and clothes. The cultural art with time has not lost its true essence. However, it has matured and popularized worldwide, making it a good business strategy for a lot of common people.Having been spread at such a vast perimeter, the skills of our local people are being put to use in mass production bringing a boost in employment and appreciation. This gallery comprises hand painted items by artist Bina Ali and Anjum Rana.

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The art of decorating means of transport gained popularity in the Indian subcontinent during the period of dominion.

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Truck owners and aspiring transportation companies hired craftsmen to embellish their trucks and buses in hopes that these moving pieces of art would be able to attract attention of the prospective passengers.

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With vibrant floral patterns and swirl motifs intricately laid, the illustration of human heroes with creative features, script of poetic verses and driver’s words of wisdom have truly made a place in Pakistani native culture.

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This form of ethnic art is prevalent as ever and has in fact developed a deeper cultural significance over time.

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It is said that every city’s artists have perfected their art in their own signature way. For example, artists in the areas of Peshawar favour wood adornment where as those in Rawalpindi deal in plastic decorations. Karachi on the other hand is inclined towards the usage of reflective tapes called ‘chamak patti’ as it is called in the local language.

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In Karachi alone, approximately 50,000 people hustle in diminutive, family-run workshops comprising highly trained artists, each within their own well-defined skill. Every hand-painted truck, bus and rickshaw, despite sharing various symbols visibly displays its uniqueness.

Over the years, ethnic art and crafts have gained popularity on such a large scale that these symbols of trucks have now moved onto objects and clothes.

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