Published: 20th October 2017
Art Ok Please: All India Permit's quest to make Indian truck art more accessible
Farid Bawa’s company, All India Permit, aims at getting all that bizarre and bright art on trucks featured on your walls
Ever been stuck behind those huge trucks and wondered what ‘Horn Ok Please’ means? Or why the sides of the truck are laden with repetitive motifs of folded hands, apsaras pouring wealth or eagles? Behind every motif is a story of an artist who is losing his job thanks to the era of DIY stickers and rust-free trucks, which defeat the very purpose of painting them. But for someone who has grown up amidst these artists, Nagpur-born Farid Bawa refuses to let this happen. And his solution? An organisation that’s helping truck art artists preserve the tradition, All India Permit (AIP) is a portal that allows you to stalk and buy truck art for your own space.
In India, people might look at the truck art when it's on display and appreciate it, but in Amsterdam, people stare and wonder how people can think so vividly
"As Indians, we love colours and truck owners more so. They want their trucks to stand out amongst others. One such owner, who I had the chance to interact with, said, ‘The truck is my bride and I want it to be decorated like one'," says Farid Bawa, who grew up around trucks and truck art owing to his grandfather's transport business. He was even taught by these artists, whose vibrant and kaleidoscopic sensibilities this Maharashtrian believes stems from within.
Angel spotted: One of the artworks at All India Permit
Zebra crossing, Bollywood posters, hand-painted hoardings — these are the other ways they sustain themselves. It's not a surprise that these artists, usually in their 40s, are now having a tough time making ends meet. Farid, in the past three months, has travelled the highways, sat at dhabas and visited them in their rickety slums, to speak about AIP, and though they seemed hesitant at first, he managed to get four to five artists on board and plans to empower many more. "I need to do something that makes me feel proud," says Farid, who is now working as a senior designer in DDB & Tribal Amsterdam, Netherlands. Along with his parents, Farid is extremely grateful to his team members Rachit Narang, Nitin Bhosale, Chaitanya Shete and Rajan Chipkar
Labour fo love: Raj Dongre, one of the artists who works with All India Permit
And it is from this city, which gave the world artists like Van Gogh, that Farid wants to revive the dying truck art of India. He wants to take this art, all done with enamel on cold-rolled metal sheets weighing one kilo each, to galleries and exhibitions. He tells us that people are really excited about this colourful clash of colours, which somehow make sense. "I tell the artists that it's too colourful, but even I, who has learnt design and has a fair knowledge of colours, cannot make sense of how such vibrant colours can come together and still look great," says Farid. The designer feels that "we must support these artists, who should have been given the credit that they’re due, years ago." He adds, "Though it is not considered an art form here, it is a very recognisable art form. Our highways are a moving art gallery, thanks to them."
Picture perfect: More art from All India Permit
Check them out at allindiapermit.com