Wednesday, April 25, 2007


My animation about motifs works well, but after reading the new articles there is more information that is confirmed. Thus i must incorporate that into the animation. The animation could start with a documentary sort of feel, but as it progresses it will lead to the motif animation. that animation can work separately to enter into competitions and the whole short film can be my end product.

i am no longer creating the interactive truck art cards, as they will only be available to the online world and i want to put that effort into the final outcome.

Thursday, April 19, 2007

Wed, 18 Apr 2007 11:53:29 -0400

This morning i found in my inbox the articles from my Key Source 'Jamal J Elias'. It felt like i had discovered a treasure box. There are two articles/book scans in total. I will blog my discoveries from the articles in the coming days.

Tuesday, April 17, 2007

Evolution of truck art

Here you can see how the Mogul Artists used to create Illuminated Manuscripts with poetry on the same composition. This is where the form of using poetry to support the graphics in Truck art evolves from.

Here is a box from the Iranian Art era, it not only displays similar motifs to Truck art present day but also colors. The color palette that is used to create this box are the same if not similar colors to what the truck artists use today.

Here is a Vase from the Mamluk Dynasty from 1350, here you can tell why the truck artists use Vase to represent an openess, that as a graphic element it is used to either support 'good luck' or ' wel come'.

Here is a Khudabad tile design from Turkey, (1236) where the use of peacocks in islamic art is a key element of design. Similarly the peacock is used in present day truck art aswell. The shape of the tile is an 8 sided star, and in truck art the artists may use a 2-4-6 sided star as well.

exp :2

TV Channel logo also appears in Truck art. A local Tv Channel Geo TV ( from Pakistan also appears in the newer truck art designs. This is proof of the influence of the media on Truck artists. It is not just this logo that appears on the design, there are more local channels making their way into this art form.

For the interactive animation part, i will create an audio that will play, if the mouse comes over the logo area. The audio i am trying to retrieve from a video file will be the sound of the news channel itself.

exp :1

This is an interactive piece, which i am unable to upload on to blogger as it is (an swf). thus i am pasting next to the image, the animation that happens upon clicking and when the mouse is over certain parts of the image.

Wednesday, April 11, 2007

Nejib - experimental animation


Crumpler abc

For the second part of my short film, i will continue to analyse the symbols and motifs in Truck art. but this time i would like to include my vast photographic research.

this page contains a lot of animation styles that inspire me. especially the alphabet 'c'...I am thinking of creating some animations on top of the photographs.. i will upload the first one asap.


Sunday, April 8, 2007

emails from my key sources (blessings)

Hi Haniah,

You are welcome to use my images, good luck. I have some high res on line. Let me know if you need them.


Peter Grant

Dear Ms. Omar:

I'm glad you liked that article. I have a couple of more serious articles on trucks and their symbolism, the most recent one in the journal Material Religion (volume 1). If you'd like to read it, I'd be happy to send you a pdf version. I also have a book on trucks coming out next year (I hope) from Oneworld Publications, Oxford, UK.

Generally, though, there isn't much on the symbolism.

Best wishes,

Jamal J. Elias
Class of 1965 Professor
Professor of Islamic Studies
The University of Pennsylvania
Department of Religious Studies
201 Logan Hall, 249 S. 36th Street
Philadelphia, PA 19104


Saturday, April 7, 2007

Caroun dot com

Art on Wheels

Afghanistan, India, Iran, Pakistan...


Life is full contradictions. What could be more of paradox than the local version of the common truck? Often a menace on the road, breathing free and smoke, and scattering all before it, It is Afghanistan's, Pakistan's and India's answer to the erstwhile dragon. But though a menace, it is at the same time disarming one, for it is also in its own way a work of art. No vehicle will be out of use. Their wagon will be changed with wooden one and will be painted: Truck, mini-dragon, notorious auto-rickshaw, rickshaw, taxies and buses, old or new, add colors and gaiety to the cities.

All these nations revel in color and decoration. No occasion is necessary, it is part of normal everyday life. Nothing is left ascetically cold or aesthetically pure; from head to toe, mud hut to palace, they always love to embellish and enliven their surroundings.

It is not surprising, therefore, that trucks and rickshaws are such delightfully decorative objects. The most attractively got up vehicles are the owner driven. All the wealth, taste and status of the owner is reflected in their appearance, as opposed to cars, whose drivers, rich or poor, are not really very different from each other.

When it comes to trucks and buses, it is usually those that travel over long distant routes, particularly up-country with low speed, which are the most richly decorated. Flowers, in vases or bouquets, or pretty little landscapes arte the most common motifs. The lettering, whether Urdu, India, Pashtu, Persian or English, is always ornate. The finest pure Victoriana! Every part of the truck is decorated, flaps, under-carriage and hub. Front fenders are chromium-plated steel (sometimes wood, in old cars in Afghanistan), but with elaborate cut-work. The style, primitive, native and full of inventiveness, has about it rare uncontrived quality.

The idea is simple: To make it pretty. Open the door to driver's seat and look in, the pride and joy of the driver really reaches its peak here: Veritable fairy-tale glitter meets the eye; the surface is richly patterned like good brocade, lights glow everywhere. it is absolute sensation.

Rickshaws Have less scope. Owners are usually poorer. Nevertheless, they produce some pretty exotic work. Body is painted in bright fluorescent colors, again embellished with flowers or fanciful landscapes, not to mention the messages, greeting and prayers.

Dragon is in the decoration of the plastic canopy that the best ones excel. Appliquéd with gold leaves, diamonds, stars, the work is like gota (tinsel) or lace, an intricate, yet bold pattern meticulously stitched together.

The best landscapes appear on the back of petrol or water tankers. They are nearly always of picturesque lakes and mountains, with winding roads. Little trucks go up and down, and rose-covered cottages complete the picture. Scenes have great charm, oddly enough enhanced by the limitations of the tanker's oval shape. The oval frame belongs to another era and landscapes are right in tune with it.

In Iran, these decorations are different. Paintings are seldom seen. Mostly, lettering are speaking to the viewer: Letters of Gray Life!

Trucks, vans, buses, Taxis have always written on their body, glass ,and of course surely on their back: Persian words, poems and proverbs, which are sometimes wrote in English letters. Religious is one of the most subjects, especially on buses; other subjects are too vast, but mostly are related to the depressed people of the last years of 2oth century of Iran; also, lyric poems, Persian proverbs,... to jokes, mostly with monotone colors.

Forum: Cars and Trucks Discussion

As part of my research, i said that these truck are decorated as if it is a feminization of them. Here i found someone commenting on a truck and refering to it as a bride.


HAT International Research Fellowships

HAT International Research Fellowships
(South Asia Research Trip)

Truck Art

Before motorized transport, traders moved goods along routes from the coast of Pakistan inland to Central Asia using heavily decorated camel caravans. This tradition continues today with painted trucks and buses, which continue to identify ethnic groups. It is possible to look at a truck and identify which region it comes from and what ethnic group the driver belongs to.

Within Karachi, a port city of 14 million on the Arabian Sea, more than 50,000 people work in small, family-run workshops comprised of apprentices and trained artisans, each with a well-defined specialty. Every hand-painted truck, bus and rickshaw are unique. Truck owners are willing to spend a small fortune to do this. A decent paint job costs £300 to £600 - perhaps more, depending on how detailed it is. Body decoration and repair can easily run an extra £1200, equivalent to two years of the average truck drivers salary. As a rule, however, owners or owner-drivers pay for the decoration, although hired drivers employed by a company are often free to choose whatever illustrations they like.

This labour intensive operation usually takes six to ten weeks. During this period, many drivers hover around the workshops like part of the extended family, suggesting possible subjects and alterations, earning nothing during the time their truck is being prepared. A full makeover of a vehicle can happen every three or four years.


Pater Langer - Photographer

This website exclusively features the work of international travel photographer, Peter Langer.He has been devoted to the creation of professional cultural & travel photography of the highest quality.


David Sanger - Photography

Travel photographer David Sanger has photographed in over ninety countries, and makes his home in Albany, California in the San Francisco Bay Area. As a photojournalist, he sees photography as a transforming experience, an opening to the wonder and joy of life. " I am continually amazed at the intricate variety and diversity of our world."

A graduate of Amherst College in Massachusetts, he discovered his true passion early, travelling overland to India through Turkey and Afghanistan, carrying a 35mm Minoltina camera and a bag of Kodachrome. Moving to California, he continued, exploring the Bay Area hills and trails, and then, farther afield, to China, India, Europe and the Caribbean. Photography and writing assignments for major magazines followed.


Nelvin Cepeda - Photojournalist video

A short audio/visal clip on Trucks of Pakistan created by Nelvin Cepeda.


Article by Tim Hyland

The Painted Trucks of Pakistan

October 19, 2006

By: Tim Hyland

Like many others in Pakistan, Jamal J. Elias took the exquisitely painted trucks so common in that country for granted. Then, one day, he stopped, looked—and wondered: “Why?”

“You see them everywhere,” says Elias. “But a lot of people don’t see them. One day I started staring at them, very carefully. And I started to see there was some order to the madness.”

Elias, a Penn professor of religious studies, has been staring at those remarkable trucks—and studying the people responsible for making them—ever since. It’s a culture that produces highly ornate designs, at great cost, and places them on most all of Pakistan’s working vehicles, from trucks and buses to vans and taxis. Even animal carts are decorated.
And while painted trucks can also be found in South America, India and elsewhere, nowhere are the designs as elaborate, or as ubiquitous, as they are in Pakistan.

Yet, even though he’s years into his research, Elias still isn’t quite sure of the motivation behind the painted trucks. He plans to return to Pakistan this summer to continue his work.

“Vehicle decoration, in general, is old,” he says. “The first guy who invented the wheel probably hung something from his cart. People used to decorate their horses … But the degree to which they do it [in Pakistan] is unique. India has some of this, but there is an exponential difference between the two.”

Elias has taken thousands of photographs of the trucks in the course of his research. He’s also conducted in-depth interviews with truck owners who make the designs possible—the decorations, which consist of hammered metal, mosaic and paint, cost up to $5,000 per truck and take around five weeks to complete—and the artists, despite their great talent, suffer horrible pay and don’t even enjoy the respect of their neighbors. Generally speaking, Elias says, these artists could enjoy better pay and better societal standing if they were restoring furniture.

“Some of these guys, they’re very good,” says Elias, who comes to Penn this semester from Amherst College. “But they can’t get legit work. What they do is not considered legit.”

Elias learned that when, early in his research, he told a group of Pakistanis about his research on the trucks.

“They thought I was crazy,” he says.

Though Elias’ research may appear to be about little more than kitschy pop art, he believes the painted trucks—whose designs include everything from humorous poetry (usually found on the rear bumper) to religious imagery (almost always on the front of the bus)—could help shed light on many aspects of Pakistani culture.

That’s true in part because trucking is such an important facet of Pakistan’s economy. The nation has little in the way of railroad infrastructure, so most of the nation’s basic goods are transported by truck. For a nation with 160 million people, that’s a lot of goods being moved by a lot of trucks.

“I believe [by studying the trucks] there’s a great deal you can learn about religious attitudes, about social attitudes, about attitudes toward modernity,” Elias says. “We’re talking about a very large section of society. I think [this research] is a way of doing religious history, or social history, but doing it against the grain.”


technical difficulties

I have been busy working on the animation, and i keep coming against these technical issues that i deal with in Flash. I admit its been abt 2 yrs since my last animation but i cant have forgotten this much. I am struggling with how to sync the sounds, the scenes.. etc.

ahan flash issue.... wat kind of issue... may be i can help yew...

well this is one of the simpler ones..
when i export as a flash movie i am only able to see one scene... now i know the answer is easy but i dont rem!!! maybe u can help..
secondly do i need to make an audio layer in all the scenes? or just one and put it in event mode..?

ok ill let u know..
problem 1: (able to see one scene)
1. make sure u render or export the movie properly.
2. they make be a stop tag at the end of the scene 1.
3. the scene u able to see may be a last scene in the scene list.

problem 2: (sound)
yes u need a new layer for audio. depends on ur appraoch wheather u put sound in each scene or u scripted the sound.
both approaches are good but as i said it depends how u approach.

let me know wat happened after this..

u were right.. it works now
except... its somehow become muchhhhh slower!!!!!
i hate flash rite now! :(

still trying to make it run better, so far it seems the long non scene frame worked faster then the other. so lets hope i can do one animation this way, the next one i will try being more organized with flash.

Thursday, April 5, 2007

Article by By Shoaib Ahmed

A local magazine (Daily Times) from Pakistan printed an article about the Truck Art inspired products from :

LAHORE: An exhibition titled ‘Tribal Truck Art’ commenced at the Alliance Francaise de Lahore on Saturday. The exhibition is unique since it displays truck paintings on various household items. Over 100 objects were on display including wooden boxes, stools, chairs, benches, wall hanging carts, lanterns, lamps, mirrors, buckets and kettles.

Anjum Rana, the inspiration behind the exhibition, told Daily Times that from an early age she had been fascinated by the paintings done on trucks. She said that after a long search she had managed to find Ghulam Sarwar, an exceptional truck painter, in Kemari Karachi. Ms Rana added that most people perceived truck paintings as cheap and ridiculed the art; but it had a beauty that should be appreciated. She said that the exhibition was the first of its kind.

Explaining her interest in truck paintings Ms Rana said that most of her life had been spent on the frontier and she had become accustomed to seeing beautiful paintings on trucks. “I have also saved a number of the quotations written on trucks in my notebook,” she said.

Mr Sarwar said that he had been painting trucks for many years. He said that he had completed the displayed artwork in a span of two years. He said his students Suhail, Asad and Yunus had helped him in the artworks. He said that truck painting was an art and required a great deal of skill but people took it for granted.

A number of art lovers were present during the exhibition including the Director of the French Centre Matthieu Pinel and Principal of the National College of Arts (NCA) Sajida Vandal.

Wednesday, April 4, 2007

‘Broken Maps’ by Suhayl Saadi (commissioned by ‘The Herald’ newspaper, March 2004)

Beautifully-lit, the white walls of the Rohtas 2 Gallery in Lahore, Pakistan could be a miniature modern Vatican Map Room, except that in Zarina Hashmi’s exhibition, energetically curated by Salima Hashmi, Dean of Beaconhouse National University School of Visual Arts, every map is fractured, every place, broken. Yet one is not left with the sense of emptiness one sometimes feels after visiting galleries of contemporary art in the West.

Theatre, visual art, music, literature and puppetry in Pakistan arise from economic, physical and social life. Over the past thirty years, much of the arts has been led, driven and created by women. They receive little official support and yet are burgeoning and gaining increasing recognition abroad. Vital, aesthetic and plugged-in to networks of intra-national, regional, and global politics, they are as far from bourgeois pastimes as you can get. Every artist is de facto an activist.

During the long, dark night of Zia’s dictatorship (1977-1990), artists were imprisoned or prevented from working and a shameful parody of Islam was burned into statute. In a deeply patriarchal society, Woman became the Other. Over the years, artists have worked with the women of the Craft Cooperative Movement, have explored the conceptual centrality of Sufism in South Asia, have translated to and from intra-national languages and have been diligent in every field of folk culture. Women writers challenge a dominant romanticism; this is art as truth-telling.

There is anger, yes, in a country where wealth distribution is like an Escher folly, where, in spite of the national debt, military spending never seems to run dry, where ‘honour’/dowry killings are rife, where most women work outside the home in fields or offices yet have a farcical level of public representation, and where health statistics and literacy levels, especially for women, remain scandalously low. However, key themes of this art seem to be humanity, sensibility, tolerance, dialogue, love and understanding – a powerful alternative cartogram to that of the Taliban-types who have just taken over the government of the Northwest Frontier Province of the country.

Grassroots artistic bodies get funding mainly from donors, private sponsors and NGOs, while the South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation links together journalists, writers, lawyers, transport and water administrators across the seven countries of South Asia and aims through civil societal means to drag governments into action. Poetry is intimately linked with the Women’s Movement, and far from being in thrall to the West (whose rulers, to maintain hegemonic control of trade and resources, have created, financed, armed and skillfully utilised the fundamentally misguided Islamists), in their creations these artists draw deeply on the living cultures of the region.

Surely, given the right ‘creative cluster’ approach (à la Oslo, which has one of the largest Pakistani communities outside South Asia), the youth of Pollokshields, Bradford and Tipton might plug in to the verve, activism and centredness of these arts movements. Once you have painted a picture or written a poem, it becomes increasingly difficult to render your brain subject to someone else’s machinations. Subverting nihilistic unemployment and fascistic thought, the link between art and political and economic life is real. Civilisation is partly about connectedness. It is hugely exciting that the Scottish Arts Council is exploring such creative interactions.

Some Pakistani artists point to the difference in attitude between their own embassies and those of India, which actively promote art abroad. Just as, irritatingly, the world refers to Britain as ‘England’, so the conception of South Asia resides in the numinous iconic receptacle of ‘India’.

The general perception of Pakistan heaves with inchoate archetypes of bearded violence. The blame for this lies with tenacious Western folk prejudice, with contradictory notions of national self-image and with the political instability and entrenched patriarchal feudal interests of successive Pakistani governments. Who, internationally, knows of Sadequain, whose artistic stature matches that of Dali? Or of the sharp intellect of feminist poet Kishvar Naheed? Or of the fearless Ajoka Theatre, set up by actor-director Madeeha Gauhar twenty years ago with the express purpose of exploring the social relevance of themes of living traditions of dance and drama? Or of Jamil Naqsh, whose elegant, visceral paintings currently inhabit the luminous, echoing galleries of the 1920s Rajput-Mughal-style Mohatta Palace Museum in Karachi?

Artists of both sexes in the ‘Land of the Pure’ are carving out new territories, untrammeled by either cultural bankruptcy or the dysfunctional parameters of religious psychosis. The maps are broken. The lights in the galleries of Pakistan are switching on. Let us hope that they will not go out again in our time.

Suhayl Saadi recently accompanied freelance arts curator Alina Mirza on her Scottish Arts Council-funded feasibility study of the arts in Pakistan.

Images from the festival

Pakistani Film, Media and Arts festival


Heer Productions brings to you a thousand colours from the rich cultural heritage of Pakistan and its civilization. Pakistani culture represents a confluence of the cultures of the Middle East, Central Asia and South Asia. The cultural heritage of Pakistan and of its diaspora is rich, vibrant, engaged and hugely inspiring.

Over the past eighteen months, the company's artistic director, Alina Mirza has been working with a plethora of organisations towards increasing audience attendance amongst members of minority ethnic communities at mainstream film events and South Asian professional art events, especially among young people. Organisations Heer Productions has been working with include the Glasgow Film Theatre, Edinburgh Filmhouse, Scottish Screen, Napier University, Equal, Glasgow Media Access Centre, Glasgow City Council, Culture and Leisure Services, Glasgow Anti-Racist Alliance, Meridian, and several Youth Initiatives and other South Asian arts organisations. Heer Productions also promotes the participation of mainstream audiences at South Asian professional arts events.

Heer Productions Ltd has focused its strategy on the need to address the under-representation of the ethnic minority communities in the arts, film and media scene within Glasgow and Scotland as a whole, and the lack of participation and relative invisibility of the Pakistani community in mainstream film and arts professional training programmes and academic courses. Most of the work outlined here is undertaken in partnership with other South Asian arts and film companies, community organisations and academic institutions.

Space Truckin' - a blog article


I was as flabbergasted as you when I saw these images of Pakistani truck art. Popular in the Indus valley region, it began prior to the Partition, according to Peter Grant, the photographer.

This extraordinary tradition has it's routes in the days of the Raj when craftsmen made glorious horse drawn carriages for the gentry. In the 1920's the Kohistan bus company asked the local Michaelangelo, Ustad Elahi Buksh, a master craftsmen to decorate their buses to attract passengers. Buksh employed a community of artists from the Punjab town of Chiniot, who's ancestors had worked on many great palaces and temples dating back to the Mogal Empire.
It was not long before truck owners followed suite with their own designs. Through the years the materials used have developed from wood and paint to metal, tinsel, plastic and reflective tape. Within the last few years trucks and buses have been further embellished with full lighting systems.

A new undecorated bus costs around £3000 after which owners can expect to pay a further £5000 for a complete decoration which can take up to three months. The cost of decorating a truck is around £3000 on top of the £1500 paid for a new vehicle. Artists are paid between £1.50 and £3 per day.

The photographs were were brought to my attention by ace videoblogger Soumyadeep Paul, who also has a fascinating photoblog on India, featuring many stills from Rajasthan, my homeland.
Rohit Gupta

concrete analysis of motifs

This is just thoughts out of my head at random, sort of like brainstorming ideas...

idea 1: i create a small book about 5 by 5inches in size. It contains each symbol and its description to my knowledge.

idea 2: i interview on of the truck artists via webcam and record his explanation to the motifs and symbols used. if he is infact aware of them.

idea 3: i continue with my animation and test it on a focus group here as pre- decided!