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"Racist cake"

Continued demands for minister to resign over "Cakegate"

Updated torsdag 19 april 2012 kl 07.49
Published onsdag 18 april 2012 kl 20.49
Culture Minister Lena Adelsohn Liljeroth cutting up the "racist cake" at the Museum of Modern Art. Photo: Åsa Andersson

Sweden's culture minister Lena Adelsohn Liljeroth met with the National Association for African Swedes late on Wednesday to explain why she cut up a cake in the shape of a naked black woman at a ceremony marking World Art Day.

After the meeting the chairman of the association, Zakaria Zouhir, told the news agency TT that they still want the minister to resign.

The association said that the minister, as a representative of the government, ought to have been more critical, and not just claim that she was tricked into the situation.

"She is a woman who actually can question before she has the knife in her hand: "What is this? Can anyone explain why the cake looks the way it does?" She could have asked a lot of such questions instead of just digging into the cake and laugh with all the white people who stand around and cheer and think it is funny," Zouhir told TT.

Meanwhile the film clip showing the minister carving up the cake, as the artist himself was squealing under the knife, has spread around the world. According to the news agency TT, it has made headlines as far as Brazil.

The event took place last weekend in Stockholm, when Lena Adelsohn Liljeroth had been invited to the Museum of Modern Art to celebrate World Art Day and  The Swedish Artists' National Organization’s 75th anniversary. After her speech, she was asked to cut up the cake which, according to the museum, was supposed to shine a light on female circumcision which is internationally recognised as a human rights violation.

The cake was made by the black artist Makode Linde, who claims the Association for African Swedes has misunderstood his artwork. In a statement, the National Organisation of Swedish Artists said;

"Makode Linde's cake is an anti-racist work of art. It is part of a series of works called "Afromantics", the purpose of which is to shed light upon the issue of racism. Linde has been working with that concept since 2004."

"The fact that the Minister for Culture Lena Adelsohn Liljeroth cut a piece of Makode Linde's art cake was not meant as a conspiracy, neither by the organizers nor the artist. The Swedish Artists' National Organization regret that the Minister's participation at the event has been perceived as racist." 

After the meeting with the association on Wednesday, Lena Adelsohn Liljeroth issued a written statement: "I think it is good that we have met to continue talking about the fight against intolerance, racism and discrimination."

Makode Linde will be appearing on Radio Sweden for an in-depth interview on Friday. 

Our journalism is based on credibility and impartiality. Swedish Radio is independent and not affiliated to any political, religious, financial, public or private interests.
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