Medium of Work:
For its sheer ingenuity and utter uniqueness, the work of master folk artist Noshad Yousuf stands alone. From his studio in Karachi, Pakistan, Yousuf makes a marvelous type of artwork known regionally and abroad as “Truck art.” These items are riotously colored and gorgeously patterned, per the traditiona in this part of the world. Not to be confused with toys, these small-scale metal trucks are fastidiously crafted and sculptural in form – and they mimic full sized trucks and buses proudly roaming the streets of Karachi.
“Truck art is our family business,” says Yousuf. “This tradition is mainly adopted by our forefathers who saw kings, emperors, and other famous people entering the Indian Sub-Continent.” Yousuf’s ancestors used the storied Khyber route, which passes through the Swat Valley, and acted as a crucial station for visitors for thousands of years. Though Yousuf creates trucks and commercial vehicles which are clearly based on modern machines, the historical implications and symbolism associated with traveling and passage are poignant and indelible to these works.
First, metal pieces which constitute the trucks are cut and designed by hand and machines. It is then painted and assembled with careful attention to detail—and an outrageous array of bright, joyful color.
For Yousuf, this artform is not just a means of earning a living, but also a very real way of paying homage to the hundreds of generations before him. Alongside the dazzling vehicle artworks he creates, Yousuf designs lanterns, bowls, and serving platters, all made in his irresistibly magical and fantastically original style.