Some of the best art ever created is an imitation of life, but when that art mocks situations, people, and circumstances that aren’t the least bit amusing, there’s not much to appreciate.
For World Art Day in Sweden, April 15, artist Makode Aj Linde created a cake shaped like a stereotypical African woman’s body and then painted his face to go along with it as a piece of performance art intended to bring attention to the horrors of female genital mutilation. Whenever someone cut into the cake, he would scream in agony, but as you’ll see from the video, no one is traumatized by the simulation, they are laughing, snapping photos, recording videos, and having a jolly good time eating their cake.
The event has caused a big stir throughout the country due to photos of the Minister of Culture of all things, Lena Adelsohn Liljeroth, seen happily cutting up the cake and feeding a piece to the screaming head. Of course, the Minister is now claiming her actions were misunderstood, but the African population in Sweden isn’t hearing it.
“In our view, this simply adds to the mockery of racism in Sweden,”Kitimbwa Sabuni, spokesperson for the National Afro-Swedish Association, told the Swedish publication The Local.
“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.”
Kitimbwa also says it’s very insulting for the Minister to say that Africans have somehow misunderstood racism. In my opinion racism—both internal and external—is about the only thing that can be understood from this mockery because I’m almost more upset with the artist who signed up for this event than those ogling the “art.”
Check out the video and tell us what you think.
Brande Victorian is a blogger and culture writer in New York City. Follower her on Twitter at @be_vic.
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