Swedish artist tries to bring attention to female genital mutilation, but gets the wrong kind of attention
Female genital mutilation in certain regions of Africa and among certain groups of people of African descent is a problem. But if you’re going to try to bring awareness to the problem, perhaps you should try and bring positive awareness and not make a big-lipped black Sambo cake, making you look like a total asshole.
“In our view, this simply adds to the mockery of racism in Sweden,” Kitimbwa Sabuni, spokesperson for the National Afro-Swedish Association (Afrosvenskarnas riksförbund) told The Local.
“This was a racist spectacle.”
Sabuni’s comments come following Adelsohn Liljeroth’s participation in an art installation that took place at Stockholm’s Moderna Museet in connection with World Art Day on April 15th.
As part of the installation, which was reportedly meant to highlight the issue of female circumcision, the culture minister began cutting a large cake shaped like a black woman, symbolically starting at the clitoris.
Makode Aj Linde, the artist who created the installation and whose head is part of the cake cut by the minister, wrote about the “genital mutilation cake” on his Facebook page.
“Before cutting me up she whispered, ‘Your life will be better after this’ in my ear,” he wrote in a caption next to the partially eaten cake.
But images of the event, which show a smiling and laughing Adelsohn Liljeroth slicing up the cake, have caused the National Afro-Swedish Association and its members to see red and issue calls for her resignation.
“According to the Moderna Museet, the ‘cake party’ was meant to problematize female circumcision but how that is accomplished through a cake representing a racist caricature of a black woman complete with ‘black face’ is unclear,” Sabuni said in a statement.
According to Sabuni, the mere fact that the minister particiapted 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.”
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