Truck Art – Traditional Sri Lankan Vehicle Graphics 2017


It’s been a while since my last post on Sri Lankan vehicle graphics. As with any element of Sri Lankan public culture, tradition demands that change happens an imperceptible pace. Giving the reassuring effect that nothing changes. Before the next storm kicks us in the face.

The floral swirls of traditional Sri Lankan truck art are part of this illusion. They must have graced the wooden sides of countless trucks for most of the last century. As blood was spilt around them decade after decade.

Despite their repetition they look good. Graceful, merry without being loud. There’s a life to them that’s lacking in loud photoshop stews smeared on buses.

So in a bow to tradition, here’s a recent sampling. Shot on the roads northwards. One of the few occasions where I wasn’t behind the wheel.

My favourite: a fine specimen of the Dambulla school. Just look at the rich landscape details.

Traditional Sri Lankan Truck Art

The sides have little monochromatic landscapes inside the larger lettering.

Detail of traditional Sri Lanka truck graphics

Another example of the grand style though in the darker backgrounds of the “orthodox” school:

Traditional Sri Lankan Truck Art

This one is basic. Only the tailgate has any decoration. Wonderful colour and detailing on the lettering. Don’t you?

Traditional Sri Lankan Truck Art

Last – an ode to the modern. Of what is to come. This one though has tasteful bold colours.

Traditional Sri Lankan Truck Art

The container has yet to make “traditional” trucks extinct. They operate in a sub container level of capacity. A localised necessity so there is space for them in the transport ecosystem.

I could be wrong. All things are transient. Anyone one with more wisdom on the nightmare of transport in Sri Lanka please feel free to share you enlightenment via the comment box.

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