Haider Ali, Phool Patti and Truck Art
Art is but the artist, and when it comes to Pakistani truck art, Haider Ali is a name that is often credited for taking it around the world, with his ‘Phool Patti’ venture.
Like most truck artists, Ali also learnt the craft at home, from his father. By 16, he had painted his first truck, and has since then, he has painted murals, structures, benches, and trucks in the distinctive truck art style of Pakistan around the world.
In 2002, Ali painted a Bedford truck in Washington, DC, as part of the Smithsonian Folklife Festival, which is the only complete and authentic recreation of a Pakistani truck in North America.
In 2011, he painted a Bedford truck in Luton, United Kingdom for a special Truck Art exhibition at the Stockwood Discovery Centre. The project celebrated ties between Luton and Pakistan, as Bedford trucks manufactured in Luton in the 1950s are still used in Pakistan.
In 2013, Ali visited Kolkata, India and decorated a truck as part of the city's Durga Puja annual celebrations in honour of the goddess Durga.
In 2014, as part of a fellowship at the USC Pacific Asia Museum, Ali painted a van as a gift to the university for their patronage. His work was shown as part of the museum's exhibit, From the Grand Trunk Road to Route 66, which linked the culture of travel in the US and Pakistan and the explosion of vehicular-related art in the 1950s.
Ali and his team painted a mural on the wall of the Karachi Press Club which features notable Pakistani women including Yasmeen Lari, Pakistan's first female architect and prominent activist Sabeen Mahmud.
He continues to take the art around the world, while also teaching the craft to young artists at the Indus Valley School of Art and Architecture as a visiting faculty member.