Sweden’s culture minister Lena Adelsohn Liljeroth triggered race row after cutting cake designed like an African woman
Lena Adelsohn Liljeroth, Sweden’s culture minister, faces 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 Lena Adelsohn 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.”
He told a Swedish newspaper Lena Adelsohn 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.
Lena Adelsohn 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.”