Unveiled at World Art Day 15 in the Moderna Museum in Stockholm, this performance art piece by Swedish artist Makode Linde, which is meant to raise awareness of of female genital mutilation in Africa. Some people have decried this cake as being “insanely racist“, but it begs the question: Is the artist being racist or, is the artist deliberately depicting the backward attitudes and ignorance that allows the act of female circumcision to continue in Africa? Attitudes which unfortunately are still pervasive in many parts of the so-called “civilized Western World”.
The cake, commissioned by the Swedish culture minister Lena Adelsohn Liljeroth , and sybolically cut from the clitoris up, has been called a “racist spectacle” by Kitimbwa Sabuni of the National Afro-Swedish Association. The Swedish culture minister responded by saying the situation was “misinterpreted” and that “Art needs to be provocative”.
“I understand quite well that this is provocative and that it was a rather bizarre situation,” she said.
“I was invited to speak at World Art Day about art’s freedom and the right to provoke. And then they wanted me to cut the cake.”
However, Adelsohn Liljeroth said the National Afro-Swedish Association’s anger should be directed at the artist, not at her, claiming the situation was “misinterpreted”.
“He claims that it challenges a romanticized and exoticized view from the west about something that is really about violence and racism,” she said.
“Art needs to be provocative.”
So folks, deliberately ironic, deliberately shocking, or actually racist? Would the piece have made as much headlines if the artist attempted to create an actual topless female instead of a throwback comic caricature?