A social media firestorm kicked off this week after Swedish minister of culture Lena Adelsohn Liljeroth cut into a cake in the shape of a naked black woman that many are calling racist.
The cake was one of several art displays created for a World Art Day party at the Moderna Museet in Stockholm. With every slice into the cake, the Afro-Swedish artist Makode Linde - whose blackface painted head protruded through the table - screamed and cried in agony.
As a part of Linde’s performance art piece, Liljeroth performed a clitoridectomy on the cake to bring awareness to the global practice of female circumcision. However, instead of the topic bringing about a somber mood, Liljeroth, along with the other Stockholm elite partygoers, laughed, ate, and snapped photos, entertained by the performance.
The incident sparked angry responses on Facebook and Twitter worldwide. Users were livid as their news feeds and timelines were flooded with images and video recaps of the event.
The self-proclaimed “anti-racist” minister has received a substantial amount of criticism and media backlash for her involvement and has been asked by the National Association of Afro-Swedes to step down from her position.
Liljeroth released a statement about the event on Wednesday.
“The actual purpose of World Art Day was to discuss and highlight the role of art in society,” she wrote. “Art must therefore be allowed room to provoke and pose uncomfortable questions. As I emphasised in my speech on Sunday, it is therefore imperative that we defend freedom of expression and freedom of art - even when it causes offence.”
It’s hard to buy it. The international debate has officially begun. Is it art? Is it racist?
But the real question is: Is it acceptable?
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