They bring color to the streets of Dhaka, but as populations rise and cities modernize, Bangladesh’s rickshaws, and the traditional art that adorns them, are at risk.

On one of Old Town Dhaka’s narrow lanes, two men toil away in a cycle rickshaw workshop. One at a treadle sewing machine stitching plastic appliqué panels, the other painting metal wheel rims. Beside them is a new rickshaw, decorated with hot-pink illustrations of three film stars, a festooned hood, metal stud detailing and handlebar streamers.

Outside, Yousuf, a rickshaw artist, unfurls a fabric scroll revealing an illustration like the one on the new rickshaw. “This is one of the most popular rickshaw paintings in Dhaka,” he says. The piece isn’t destined for a rickshaw though; it was a tourist commission.

Creating art for visitors has become a new income stream—because these days there isn’t enough rickshaw painting work to sustain Yousuf and his family. “There are still a few other artists working here in Old Dhaka. Probably around 12 of us.”