Bangladesh’s Commuting Canvases
Tuk Tuks and Rickshaws are a fascination of mine because of the care, attention, and pride that is sometimes shown on them when they’re well looked after and decorated. And there’s something about the tiny portability about them that is also appealing….
From Lost At E Minor:
You don’t have to venture far in Bangladesh to encounter a rickshaw, the nation’s most popular means of transport. Powered by the pedalling of wallahs (rickshaw men) through rain, hail or shining humidity, rickshaws are truly all purpose vehicles.
The number of rickshaws in Dhaka (the capital of Bangladesh) is well over 600,000, and this makes for some stiff competition for business. But the crowds of rickshaw wallahs that glide through intersections and sit poised at shopping mall entrances posses a unique weapon in the conflict for customers – art.
Rickshaws in Bangladesh are decorated from bumper to bell with paintings, engravings, tassels, embroidery and even gold leaf in an attempt to attract customers. The art must be eye-catching but not too elaborate in case it disappears in clouds of exhaust before it can be fully appreciated. And rickshaw art is incredibly diverse as the rickshaw fleet owners, the ‘maliks’, each have their own tastes and budgets.