The Antiracist Academy demands the resignation of the Swedish Minister of Culture Lena Adelsohn Liljeroth
Tuesday, April 17, 2012
During World Art Day, Lena Adelsohn Liljeroth, the Swedish Minister of Culture visited the Museum of Modern Art in Stockholm to cut a cake depicting a nude black woman. She was asked to “genital-mutilate” the cake that was presented as a work of art. The cake depicted a black woman's upper body, whose head was played by the artist who screamed every time the knife carved out a piece of her body. The guests, including the Minister of Culture, would symbolically mutilate a black woman under festive forms. The crowd partied and laughed as if this was completely unrelated to colonialism and racism. The event was said to be a tribute to "the freedom of art". However, this incident cannot be taken out of context. The cake was signed by Makode Aj Linde, Marianne Lindberg de Geer and several other artists, and was a gift from KRO, The Swedish artists' interest group. This art-piece refers in particular to Venus Noire, the film about Saartje Baartman, the so-called "Hottentot Venus".
This is another example of how white Swedish intellectuals of the cultural elite think they are un-linked from, and stand above, all racist practices and statements. For example in 2006, The Museum of Modern Art also invoked "the avant-garde" when during the exhibition Africa Remix a banana eating contest was held during the opening reception. This is the practices and behaviors of the white highly educated Swedish cultural elites – a mixture of exotisizing, benevolent, anti-racist, color blind racism. Such cultural manifestations of the Swedish cultural elite provide nourishment for the political acceptability of people like Anders Breivik (the Norwegian extreme right wing terrorist), the “Laserman” (a racist murderer who during the 90’s killed several non-white people), but also for political parties like the Swedish Democrats.
The Antiracist Academy supports friend organizations such as The Afro Swedish Association, who earlier called for the resign of the Swedish Minister of Culture. We encourage feminist organizations, trade unions, political parties, anti-racist associations and other organizations working for justice, intercultural respect and equality to raise their voices in this debate. Lena Adelsohn Liljeroth's behavior must be viewed as serious, since it means an official legitimation of racist and discriminatory attitudes in Sweden. The Minister of Culture should take a serious distance from this irresponsible act and resign immediately.
The Antiracist Academy (ArA)
To watch “The painful cake”: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rCK6zvWEN_Q&feature=player_embedded
Please sign the petition for the resignation of the Swedish Minister of Culture Lena Adelsonh Liljeroth