Taste plays into most of the decisions we make as humans, manifesting itself in everything from our fashion choices to the food that we eat. While subjective and ever-changing, our personal tastes are undeniably influenced by the media that we consume – and it just so happens that the industry behind the media we are exposed to on a daily basis is overwhelmingly white.
The dominance of the white gaze in visual culture has been the subject of fierce debate in light of the events of the past year in particular. While the cultural canon has traditionally seen white male creatives setting the bar for what is considered ‘good’ or ‘bad’, the need to decolonise the creative industries is a view that is increasingly being shared by people who work in it. As a result, space is finally opening up for a new wave of tastemakers who are challenging the white default.
One such creative is Anita Chhiba, a second-generation Gujarati-Indian and founder of Diet Paratha, an Instagram page dedicated to uplifting South Asian culture and community. Growing up in the small farming town of Pukekohe in New Zealand, Chhiba’s early experiences of visual culture were overwhelmingly white.
“My upbringing was quite cultural but my friendship group was really white and all of the visual communication I saw around me was white,” she tells CR. “I remember Destiny’s Child super clearly. I felt like I had some kind of attachment to them, not because I’m Black but it was the closest thing I could pull on a mainstream scale that other people also thought was really cool.”