Thursday, April 19, 2012

STOCKHOLM: Row over FGC represented by cake-cutting

Boing Boing

April 18, 2012

Screaming black female circumcision cake controversial

By Rob Beschizza

Swedish culture minister Lena Adelsohn Liljeroth cut into an unusual cake at the Museum of Modern Art in Stockholm this Saturday, and found herself at the center of a controversy some might say could have been predicted.

[YouTube image from Boing Boing removed "as a violation of YouTube's policy prohibiting hate speech"
- re-sourced via 'The Local'

The remarkable cake design -featuring a edible black torso and the artist's head screaming as guests tucked in - was intended to draw attention to female genital mutilation in Africa.

Campaigners, however, say it is itself an unacceptable caricature. From Sweden's The Local:

"In our view, this simply adds to the mockery of racism in Sweden," [said] Kitimbwa Sabuni, spokesperson for the National Afro-Swedish Association."This was a racist spectacle."

... the culture minister began cutting a large cake shaped like a black woman, symbolically starting at the clitoris. Makode Aj Linde, the artist who created the installation and whose head is part of the cake cut by the minister, wrote about the "genital mutilation cake" on his Facebook page.

"Before cutting me up she whispered, 'Your life will be better after this' in my ear," he wrote in a caption next to the partially eaten cake.

[This is one of the more neutral commentaries, and many of its comments are thought-provoking. Another, less positive, suggests the Minister, who is strong on the right of art to provoke but weak on issues of racism, was ambushed, and the viral video of her laughing as she cuts and eats the cake is the real performance. Here (Al Jazeera) the (black, male) artist explains his intent. Most reports and their commentators just joined the outrage.

What few have noticed is the resemblance to a real "cake party" that is re-enacted time after time in the Western world, with a screaming person and their genitals as the centre of attention, only it's a baby boy, and his genitals really are being cut. With this performance's many layers of irony and satire, it's not clear that the artist intended that.]

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