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Female Genital Mutilation Cake

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Posted

The Swedish minister of culture can’t have her cake and eat it, too. Lena Adelsohn Liljeroth is being accused of racism by the African-Swedish Association after cutting a cake depicting a black woman.

The Guardian, the cake, created by artist Makode Aj Linde, was meant to depict female genital mutilation. Linde is shown as the head of the woman cake, screaming every time someone cuts a slice.

According to 

Liljeroth was attending an event at Moderna Museet in Stockholm and was invited to cut the cake, which she did.

A spokesman for the African-Swedish Association is accusing Liljeroth of “add[ing] to the mockery of racism in Sweden.”

Kitimbwa Sabuni and the association have called for Liljeroth’s resignation because, they say, the cake was not aimed at genital mutilation, but instead was just a “a racist caricature of a black woman.”

“Her participation, as she laughs, drinks and eats cake,” Sabuni said, “merely adds to the insult against people who suffer from racist taunts and against women affected by circumcision.”

Liljeroth said she understands the association’s criticism, but doesn’t think she did anything wrong. She agreed that the cake was a little strange, but was misinterpreted.

- - -

A male artist, in the most offensive caricature blackface imaginable, creates an anatomical nude female red velvet cake and invites Sweden’s Minister of Culture to give him/her a symbolic cliteridectomy by cutting the genital slice first. Oh, and Mr. Linde screams and moans. Then he eats the cake.

The internet was quick to react.

Sweden’s African-Swedish Association called it “a racist spectacle”.

Jezebel wrote, “I hope you spent the morning warming up your What The Everloving Hell reaction muscles, because this will require you to use all of them.”

Swedish Culture Minister Lena Adelsohn Liljeroth denies doing anything wrong, according to the Guardian, but admits that Mr. Linde’s artistic statement about female genital mutilation in Africa may have been confusing. “He claims that it challenges a romanticised and exoticised view from the west about something that is really about violence and racism,” she said. “Art needs to be provocative.”

And this installation for Sweden’s “Art Week” certainly is… provocative.

painful-cake.jpg

Source: http://www.rippdemup...african-vagina/ 

Once you get past the outrage, however, there are some interesting points to consider.

First of all Makode Linde is himself an “Afro-Swede”. And he is somewhat of a specialist in art that incorporates old-school caricatures of African people.

n2MsE_thumb.jpeg

Says the Afro-Europe blog:

“Makode Linde is known for in his art, which is based on racism, xenophobia and slavery. The cake, which was part of his work, was to make a Western perception of Africa in contrast to the real picture of slavery and oppression. He also stresses that the main purpose of the cake was not to depict mutilation.”

I have a hard time buying that last bit, but one could say there is a certain artistic licence granted to a person making a statement about how others view part of his own heritage.

Animal NY’s art blogger Marina Galperina took a step back and tried to find some artistic merit in it:

“Is there anything redeeming about this piece? This cake cutting is a horrific spectacle — the red, the screams, the giggles — almost as if the Scandinavia’s apathy towards the issue of female circumcision is exaggerated through the aggressive trivialization and the cake-cutters are purposely made complicit in the violence. Also, it’s kitschy and absurd, but for obvious reasons, that’s not the first thing you think about either.

When Marina Abramović dismembered an oozing cake version of herself and Deborah Harry at the MoCA, some of the swanky gala guests chanted “Violence against women!” This is violence against women:

Female genital mutilation is the removal of part or all of the external female genitalia. In its most severe form, a woman or girl has all of her genitalia removed and then stitched together, leaving a small opening for intercourse and menstruation. It is practiced in 28 African countries on the pretext of cultural tradition or hygiene.

The degrading torture, extreme pain, lifelong consequences of this ordeal does not make it off-limits for artistic critique. Does “getting my vagaga mutilated” work? Had the response been different if Makode had a “vagaga” or if he was white? Is this the worst photo-op in the history of Swedish politics?”

Source:http://osocio.org/me...e_lindes_human/ 

*Here is a link to a VIDEO of the screaming cake being cut: http://www.youtube.c...h?v=rCK6zvWEN_Q

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Posted

That's incredibly disgusting, artistic expression or not. I'm just glad the topic is in the news again because it's still something that goes on. I just wish it wasn't like this, a model called Fatima Siad (source) had genital mutilation done on her when she was 7 and from what she told about it... it certainly is something quite horrific.

But she said that she doesn't feel the need to judge the people who did it to her as if they are bad, because it was a cultural practice. She said it was something that made her feel dead inside, like she couldn't stand up and tell her story.

Personally, when a "cultural practice" does that much harm, physically and mentally... it should not be happening.

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Posted

The way I look at it, if the objective of the whole stunt is to bring about awareness and discussion about a horrific cultural practice, then this one has pretty much accomplished its mission, I guess. 

What kind of gets me here about this story is who is being accused of racism here.  Without actually knowing the background of the artist, I would have more thought that it would be him that would receive the brunt of the accusation because it was his artwork that basically took a serious topic and turned it on its head by making a caricature of it with his piece.  The other thing I wonder about is the actual context of this particular incident.  I understand that this event took place in an art museum, but in passing were any of the spectators/guests really privy as to the intent of the art piece depicted - in this case, a cake sculpture?  ie. Was it explicitly explained to everyone that it was a representation of the horrific cultural practice?  Did the minister know what was up the artist's sleeve when she was invited to cut into the cake?  I would presume she wouldn't know that he was going to scream and moan.  Anyway, I only bring this up because I wonder what my own personal and instantaneous reaction to the whole stunt would be given the context.  And to be honest, I don't think my first reaction would be to appear solemn and poker-faced while slicing a piece - unless I actually knew the overall intent of that art piece.  Given the picture, it's not only the minister but the people gathered around that appear to be smiling at this odd spectacle.  I don't think they are specifically reveling in the act of female mutilation - it seems to me that they are just more likely naturally reacting to a sort of "WTF" moment.  I mean, would you have expected to have a cake continuously scream and moan as you sliced into it?  Anyhow, if this was the actual content and atmosphere in which this incident occurred, then I think I would be a little loathe to start exacting racist accusations.  At the most, I think I'd find it more commensurate to levy accusations of bad taste with racial insensitivity  on an ill-advised stunt instead.

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Posted

I feel like the artist's background says a lot about the artistic value of the piece. Bad taste and offensive, yes, but perhaps it was supposed to rattle everyone's brains.

I agree with HERMIT that it's a bit surprising that the artist isn't really being accused of any offense; it's the minister who happened to be attending an event and was invited to cut the cake. The article doesn't seem to suggest (unless I skipped that part o.o) that the minister knew the purpose behind the cake cutting or what the heck was going on. 

Just my personal opinion, but it seems like Linde can get away with the blackface, performance and all because he is black; whereas the minister... is not.

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Posted

I also think it's racist, cutting up a black cake like that.

I agree with the black association.

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Posted

so thats why they call black booty chocolate

it actually is chocolate

damn i didnt there were cake inside som ppl

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