The 5.5 million kilometer-long road network of India is nothing short of an art gallery. Vibrant paintings, kaleidoscopic symbols, ornamental designs and three-dimensional typography are a common sight behind commercial trucks in India. Hand-painted truck art has been a tradition for generations of truckers who spend 60% of their lives on the road. Truck is a canvas for them to express their feelings to their lover. To pay respect to their deity. To feel pride in a national symbol. To show fandom for a movie star. And, to remember their home. Unfortunately, the lucky charm of these artists is now fading.
The self-taught, talented truck artists, who have been giving soul to the Indian trucks, are now facing a tough challenge. The pride of hand-painting the trucks is being replaced by emotionless stickers. More time to hand-paint and the expense behind the decoration seems less viable in comparison to cheap, DIY stickers. With the arrival of upgraded, pre-painted trucks, the truck art and artists are now facing a dead-end.
Today, truck artists don’t want their children to follow their footsteps. They want them to find security in government jobs. With little work, falling incomes and lack of recognition, the current generation of truck artists may well be the last. May be not.
For someone who grew up seeing these artists paint magic upon these trucks, it was all but natural to join the movement to save this dying art.
When Shri Trilochan Singh Bawa moved from Rawalpindi, Pakistan to Ludhiana, India, little he knew that his future business empire will leave a deep impact on his grandson. After buying his first truck, senior Bawa moved to Nagpur and established Bawa Roadways in 1964. His grandson saw him manage a fleet of 54 trucks and watched the artists decorate each one of them with love and pride. Farid Bawa saw the rise of these artists and also saw their decline. Today, he aims to revive, preserve and promote the famous truck art of India by building a community of artists and supporting them.
All India Permit is a support system for truck artists to help them gain global recognition by reviving and preserving the love of their life - truck art!
We meet each artist personally and provide them with a canvas they are familiar with; a canvas they love – Cold Rolled (CR) steel sheets which are used to make truck panels. After the artists paint these sheets, All India Permit makes it visible to the world by putting them up for anyone to buy. Artists get majority of the sale earnings which in turn helps them gain financial stability. And most importantly, it helps them hold their head high again, in pride. All India Permit is a new road for these artists to start a new journey. This time, towards happiness.