If you roam around the cities of Bangladesh, you will see a million colorful rickshaws featuring larger-than-life characters. This unique art form has been passed on for decades, forming the country’s signature street view.
After the Partition of India in 1947, with the society gradually developing, a local landholder from Dhaka bought six rickshaws and introduced them to the area. The transportation means became popular nationwide.
To stand out among many of the rickshaws, many owners would pay artists to paint the rickshaws as delicate as possible, which was how “rickshaw art” started took on a life of its own.
人力車藝術家Shawon Akand表示，在人力車彩繪風氣形成之初，不少藝術家會從明星藝人的電影宣傳海報中汲取靈感，到了70年代，孟加拉國解放戰爭（Bangladesh Liberation War）也成為常見的彩繪元素。
Artist Shawon Akand said that when the art first appeared, a big inspiration source for these rickshaw painters was the actor-actress on movie banners. And in the seventies, artists got another new element which was the “Bangladesh Liberation War.”
He pointed out that the color used in movie banners are usually very bright, which influenced the coloring technique in rickshaw painting, and was used till this day.
In the mid-seventies, the then government imposed a ban on film stars and human images being portrayed on rickshaws, so these artists turned towards fabled animals to speak for humans.
At present, 63-year-old Syed Ahmed is one of the few artists still practicing this unique art form.
Shawon Akand 表示，為了使人力車藝術繼續活躍，應該提高車主的意識，讓他們了解到這項悠久傳統的重要性。「不然，10年、20年後，可能就不會再有人力車藝術家存在了，屆時我們將必須到美術館才能了解這項特殊的工藝」。
“Otherwise, after 10 to 20 years, we may not find any rickshaw painters in the country. We would then have to go to the museum to understand what rickshaw painting was all about”.