Keeping truck of change

What Is Art? Is it the objects seen in art galleries and museums around the world or paintings hanging on the living room walls of connoisseurs?

By Kiran Prasad

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Published: Sun 31 Aug 2008, 10:01 PM

Last updated: Sun 5 Apr 2015, 2:52 PM

There may not be a single answer to this very subjective question. Artmeans different things to different people. To me, anything that brings unexpected joy or is a sight for sore eyes after a long, hard day’s work, is art.

While driving towards Hatta, I often come across tankers on their way to or from the sewage disposal plant in Al Aweer.

While some of the mare plain, most of them are adorned with beautiful paintings rendered in vibrant colours and themes.

The drivers of most of these tankers are Pakistanis. It’s perhaps no surprise then that they treat the outer body of their vehicles as canvases as every inch of the trucks in their home country are covered with beautiful and traditional motifs.

Since the drivers and their helpers spend a good part of the day, sometimes nearly 12 hours, to offload the sewage to empty one tanker, their vehicles are as good as their homes. They spend their days lined up in a slow-moving queue which inches forward every 20 minutes.

Sajjad walked over tomefor a chat when he saw me pointing my camera at one of the tankers.“My brother works in a garage in AlAweer, if you want to takemore photos, I can take you there,” he said.

He walked along with me while I marvelled at the anonymous artist’s expression of various themes: landscapes, autorickshaws, an eagle swooping on a hapless bird, a lion hunting… While we were chatting, an eager helper jumped on to the rear end of a tanker, striking a pose forme.“Hey you,” yelled Sajjad, “he’s not taking your picture.

He’s photographing the paintings behind our trucks.” The helper sheepishly got down and peered with great interest at my camera to see the images I had captured. Perhaps I’ll go back another day to document a day in their live.

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