Abhishek Choudhry is an independent visual artist and a designer who is known for his concept art. Through his work, he explores the Indian design aesthetic by referencing Indian prints, textures, motifs and design techniques while simultaneously juxtaposing them against elements and symbols of streetwear and global pop culture. His previous series Air Jordan x Indian cities captured the essence of different Indian cities in his sneaker designs.
Similar to the last one, his latest series is a conceptual sneaker project called Air Jordans x Mughal Dynasty. Spread across 4 designs named Shahjahan, Babur, Akbar & Rangeela, Abhishek explores the history of the Mughal Dynasty and it’s prominent rulers. Each sneaker is designed as a storytelling vessel capturing the personality and character of the ruler as well as the political backdrop during their reign. The project is an experiment in using Midjourney, an AI art program to create pieces of material history with virtual/non material objects.
'Shahjahan' depicts the opulence and grandeur of the Mughal Emperor known for his love of design, art and architecture. Golden sari embroidery embellished with rose motifs and a flower often seen in the portraits of Shahjahan, perfectly capture the aesthete emperor.
'Babur' reflects the Central Asian homeland that emperor Babur had to leave bearing hues of the Blue tile work from the buildings of Samarkand in Uzbekistan. Central Asian motifs with blue inlays and tile work become the main design element for these sneakers.
'Akbar' is a balance between opulence and harmony, something that resonated with the golden era of this emperor’s reign but also emulated his humble personality.
'Rangeela' is a reflection of the vibrant & colourful nature of ruler, Mohammad Shah. The peacock inspired colour pallet is a throwback to the Peacock Throne of what only remains were the ruins and debris of the Persian invasion during his reign.
Being an avid history buff and an admirer of sneaker design, Abhishek combined his love for the two in this series reimagining sneaker designs through the lens of South Asian Design heritage. This stunning synergy of new and old aesthetics is also reflective of the collaborative force of modern AI platforms with concepts rooted in native history created by visual aritsts. The rising themes of retrofuturism in projects like these reveal the pendulating nature of current art movements that swing between the past and future.