There are calls for Sweden’s culture minister to step down after she took part in cutting a cake shaped like a naked black woman. The Association for African Swedes claims Lena Adelsohn Liljeroth made a “mockery” of African people when taking part in the event, which was aimed at highlighting the issue of female circumcision.
The cake, presented at the Museum of Modern Art in Stockholm, was made of blood-red sponge shaped like the naked upper body of a woman and covered in black icing. Black Swedish artist Makode Linde painted his own face like a gollywog to form the head of the figure.
Kitimbwa Sabuni, spokesperson for the Association for African Swedes, said the cake was a crude racist caricature and that Ms Liljeroth should resign. “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,” Sabuni told TT news agency.
However, Linde defended his artistic choice, claiming the group are being oversensitive. “Considering the poor offering of art in Sweden that could be defined as African-Swedish, one would have hoped that the people in the National Association for African Swedes were more aware of the artwork that I do,” he said.
Also speaking to TT, Ms Liljeroth said she can “understand that this can feel provocative”, adding that “It was a bizarre situation. I was invited to speak at World Art Day about the freedom of art and the right to be provocative, and then they asked me to cut up the cake.”