Swedish minister in 'racist cake' controversy
- 18 April 2012
- From the section Europe
Sweden's culture minister is facing calls to step down after she was photographed cutting a cake shaped in the form of a naked black woman.
The incident involving Lena Adelsohn Liljeroth happened at the Museum of Modern Art in Stockholm.
According to Radio Sweden, the museum said the cake was supposed to highlight the issue of female circumcision.
But the Association for African Swedes said it was a crude racist caricature and called for Ms Liljeroth to resign.
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."
The artist behind the cake, Makode Linde, who is black but was born in Stockholm, said the work had been misunderstood.
He told the BBC that his art had tackled different prejudices and ideas of oppression for many years. "I've been doing this by revamping black faces into different contexts so when the Swedish Art Organisation asked me to design a cake for them it felt totally natural."
The TT news agency reported that Ms Liljeroth had said she could "understand that this can feel provocative".
"It was a bizarre situation. I was invited to speak at World Art Day about the freedom of art and the right to be provocative, and then they asked me to cut up the cake," the minister said.
The cake was in the shape of the naked upper body of an African woman and was filled with a blood-red sponge. Mr Linde painted his own face and took the place of the head.