Wednesday, April 18, 2012

Lena Liljeroth

'A tasteless, racist spectacle': Swedish minister triggers race row after cutting cake in the shape of a naked, black, native African woman

Bizarre stunt to highlight female genital mutilation backfires horribly

Sweden's culture minister today faced furious calls to resign after she was pictured cutting a 'racist' black cake designed like a native African woman.

Lena Adelsohn Liljeroth had appeared at the Museum of Modern Art in Stockholm when she was invited to cut the cake which was designed like a naked African woman.

The Swedish minister cut pieces from the black cake, which had blood-red sponge and was designed to highlight the issue of female genital mutilation.

Despite the intentions of the bizarre cake, however, critics described it as a 'racist spectacle', and demanded Ms Liljeroth resigned for participating in the 'tasteless' event.

The Association for African Swedes said the cake was a crude racist caricature which 'makes a mockery of racism'.

Kitimbwa Sabuni, a spokesperson for the group, told Swedish news agency TT: 'To say that you did this for a good cause only makes the mockery of people who are victims of racism and of circumcision worse.'

Mr Sabuni told a Swedish newspaper Ms Liljeroth's participation in a dubious event with cannibalistic overtones showed her 'incompetence and lack of judgment'.

Makode Linde, the artist who came up with the cake, had placed his own head at the top of the cake and said it had been misunderstood.

The black cake, part of an exhibition on World Art Day, was intended as part of the artist's project illustrating degrading stereotypes of black people through history.

Liljeroth, whose photograph cutting a piece of the cake was widely shown in Swedish media, said she understood why people would be offended by the incident.

She said in a statement: 'I was invited to speak at World Art Day about the freedom of art and its right to provoke.

'And then they wanted me to cut into the cake. I don't review art, but I can very well understand that this whole situation was misunderstood.'

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