Reporters snapped photographs of Swedish Minister of Culture Lena Adelsohn Liljeroth cutting a cake depicting a naked black woman, sparking allegations of racism at a Stockholm museum on April 15.The cake was part of a World Art Day celebration and meant to protest female circumcision, according to the Moderna Musset museum. The cake was created by artist Makode Aj Linde, who also played the cake’s head.
According to Swedish English news website The Local, the artist commented on his Facebook page, “Before cutting me up she whispered, ‘Your life will be better after this’ in my ear.” Incidentally, the artist is black.
However, photos of the smiling Adelsohn Liljeroth cutting the cake have stirred an uproar among black Swedish residents, who accuse the government and public of ignoring the problems of racism in the country.
The Local elaborates, citing commentary from Kitimbwa Sabuni, a spokesperson for the National Afro-Swedish Association:
According to Sabuni, the mere fact that the minister participated in the event, which he argued was also marked by “cannibalistic” overtones, betrays her “incompetence and lack of judgement”.
“Her participation, as she laughs, drinks, and eats cake, merely adds to the insult against people who suffer from racist taunts and against women affected by circumcision,” he said. “We have no confidence in her any longer.”
…”To participate in a racist manifestation masquerading as art is totally over the line and can only be interpreted as the culture minister supporting the Moderna Museet’s racist prank.”
Adelsohn Liljeroth has defended her participation in the cake-cutting, saying the artist “claims that it challenges a romanticized and exoticized view from the west about something that is really about violence and racism.” She added, “Art needs to be provocative.”
According to FriaTider.se, the Culture Minister has supported plans to ban tax benefits for the only nationalist newspaper in Sweden, and has proclaimed herself “anti-racist.”
Watch a video of the cake-cutting below:
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