Race row as Swedish minister cuts cake shaped like African woman

Apr 18, 2012

Culture minister slices 'genitals' of caricatured cake as blacked-up artist screams in mock pain

THE SWEDISH culture minister is embroiled in a race row after taking part in an art installation intended to draw attention to the issue of female circumcision in African women.

Guests to the World Art Day exhibition at Stockholm's Museum of Modern Art, including minister Lena Adelsohn Liljeroth, were invited to cut into the 'nether regions' of a cake shaped like a caricatured African woman.

In an even more bizarre twist, the cake's head was actually that of the artist responsible. Makode Aj Linde blacked up his face and screamed in mock pain as the guests cut into the cake's 'genitals'.

The misguided attempt to draw attention to female circumcision has developed into a full-blown race row with calls for Adelsohn Liljeroth to resign. Kitimbwa Sabuni, a spokesman for the National Afro-Swedish Association, told The Local: "In our view, this simply adds to the mockery of racism in Sweden.

"According to the Museum of Modern Art, the 'cake party' was meant to problematise female circumcision but how that is accomplished through a cake representing a racist caricature of a black woman complete with 'black face' is unclear."

The spokesman added that the installation also had "cannibalistic" overtones and highlighted Adelsohn Liljeroth's "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."

Adelsohn Liljeroth said she understood the National Afro-Swedish Association's concerns, and realised it was a bizarre installation, but she defended her actions and those of the artist.

"Art needs to be provocative," she said.

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