Swedish art installation called 'deeply insulting'

April 19, 2012 at 5:45 PM
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STOCKHOLM, Sweden, April 19 (UPI) -- Swedish Culture Minister Lena Adelsohn Liljeroth was criticized by anti-racism groups for cutting into a cake shaped like a naked black woman at an art event.

Liljeroth came under fire from the European Network Against Racism in Brussels and others for participating in an art installation at Stockholm's Moderna Museet Sunday where she sliced into a cake shaped like a nude black woman made by artist Makonde Linde. The filling was tinted a bloody red, meant to draw attention to women who suffer from genital mutilation. The network Thursday called the cake a "stereotypical racist representation of a black woman."

In a letter to Swedish Prime Minister Fredrik Reinfeldt, network head Chibo Onyeji decried the incident as "deeply insulting to people who suffer racist taunts on a daily basis and to women affected by female genital mutilation."

The Local reported the network has called for a public apology. "If no action is taken, the Swedish government will clearly be sending the message that racist prejudices are socially and legally acceptable," the letter read.

Although Liljeroth issued a public apology Wednesday, the National Afro-Swedish Association is still calling for her resignation.

In the meantime, Linde has defended the cake and the minister, saying his work has been misinterpreted.

"It's only when hidden racism is made visible that it can be destroyed," Linde wrote in Aftonbladet newspaper. "That's what my work as an artist tries to highlight."

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