Samar has pioneered the use of truck art to address social issues in Pakistan. Billboard on wheels with messages and images drawn from local culture and traditions are helping change mindsets and promote the empowerment of girls and women in remote parts of Pakistan.
The trucks travel across and reach remote areas of Pakistan, serving as moving billboards. She integrates culture and indigenous folk art, film and folk music to create culturally relevant interventions that resonate with local audiences. Through these innovative tools of storytelling, she has raised awareness about harmful cultural practices, including compensation marriages.
Samar created her first documentary on the practice of ‘Swara,’ a form of compensation child marriage, in order to raise awareness and ultimately mobilise policymakers to abolish this practice. She filed the first Public Interest Litigation in the Supreme Court of Pakistan against the compensation marriages and illegal Jirga rulings, which made Swara officially illegal in Pakistan in 2004. This has prevented the potential compensation marriages of thousands of girls in Pakistan.
What are your plans or what do you hope to achieve with your innovation in the next few years?
“I want to continue using innovative tools for spreading awareness and changing mindsets. Art has the power to connect people and educate audiences in an innovative way. Raising awareness is the first step to start localising SDGs. If done in collaboration with the local communities the message and the information will be owned by the audiences that matter. In future I would like to continue creating innovative, culturally relevant work that is local, relevant and sustainable.”
What kind of support would you like to grow your innovation from other stakeholders such government, international organisations and the business community?
“I would like international organisations, business community, government and other stakeholders to understand the relevance of campaigns that are local and indigenous. Truck art is a tool that is easily acceptable and valued by the local communities. Not only that, they are the co-creators of the campaign. It is mostly men, the drivers of the vehicles, the owners of trucks, truck artists etc. who become the real advocates and change makers. Instead of replicating ideas from other parts of the world why not explore local and indigenous tools and ideas for a bigger impact.”