Truck Art Meets Little Free Library
In Fall of 2019 Arts Administrator Urooj Shakeel commissioned me to paint a "library truck." Shakeel's project, "Truck Art Meets Free Library," now lives on Chicago's historic Devon Avenue and in front of Hamdard Healthcare Center, engaging immigrant communities that include South Asian, Arab, Muslim, and Bosnian. Truck Art is indigenous to Pakistani streetscapes and culture and incorporates traditional folk designs, imagery such as floral motifs, country landscapes, animals, and political figures, vibrant color schemes, and urdu poetry. The painting on the main side of the truck features imagery of Chicago landmarks/icons and midwest prairie flowers. On the front of the truck are designs from Ajrak, a textile from the Sindh Province of Pakistan, rooted in the Sindhi people, the ancient Indus civilization. The back of the truck has a line of Urdu poetry from Urooj's nana (maternal grandfather) and incorporates street signage from the main business area along Devon Avenue, paying homage to the rich history of Jewish and South Asian immigrants along this strip. My artwork was very much a collaboration with Urooj; Urooj herself said that she was the truck driver and I was the artist, just like a truck driver will work with a local artisan to bring a personal vision to life.
You can read more about the project here, in Urooj Shakeel's interview for Sixty Inches From Center.