Riding on Dreams
An essential part of day to day city life in Bangladesh, the rickshaw is actually Japanese in origin with the word for it derived from the Japanese jinrikisha, and spreading through Asia it arrived in Dhaka in the 1930s. Among the ‘traffic art’ of Asia, the rickshaws of Bangladesh are particularly eye-catching, the car body in vinyl, the rear and canopy painted with a host of individual modeling and excessive décor. Of special note is the tin plate attached to the rear upon which can be seen film stars, religious motifs, urban or rural scenes, or even politicians, disasters or war depicted. The rickshaw as art began to draw attention with the exhibition Traffic Art: Rickshaw Paintings from Bangladesh at the Museum of Mankind in London, 1988. Following this, Fukuoka Art Museum held Rickshaw Painting: Traffic Art in Bangladesh in 1994. While clearly valued outside of Bangladesh, within the country the genre continues to evolve and be re-evaluated.
Syed Ahmed Hossain "Animals in the City" 1994 enamel paint on tin
Raj Kumar Das (painting), Gaffar Workshop (rickshaw making) "Rickshaw" 1994 tricycle with enamel paint, vinyl, bamboo, tin, metal and photograph