This installation by artist Makode Aj Linde and is a piece about female genital mutilation at World Art Day in Sweden back in 2012. It did not go over well.
In this photo you can see the Swedish Minister of Culture, Lena Adelsohn Liljeroth, feeding part of the cake to the artist with a big smile on her face while a lot of other smiling white people laugh in the background. The public called for her resignation but she didn’t even apologize.
To say that this is an insanely unfortunate and inappropriate reaction from all involved is my understatement of the year. Why were they so disconnected from this work and why weren’t they thinking?
The revulsion works on two levels. The artist, Makode Aj Linde, obviously intended his installation as a work of deadly-dark, vicious satire dramatizing the horror of Female Genital Mutilation, and he hit that mark like a laser.
The reaction of the assembled crowd, though, is perhaps more disturbing. They don’t seem to understand that this isn’t supposed to be “Ha-ha”-funny, and if observers ascribe their glee to a detached, condescending form of racism, I’d be hard-pressed to disagree. Really, who knows what they were thinking? Who the eff laughs at that?
But I also strongly object to the widespread characterization of the installation itself as somehow racist. The artist is black, and his intention is obviously to dramatize a human rights violation being perpetrated against African girls and women. The interaction with the cake may well have been racist, but the installation itself is exactly the opposite of that.
- Tommy Christopher, Mediaite
There is lots of disagreement on that last point. For a discussion and more insightful and thought provoking observations look here
And here is the artist himself speaking about it in a series: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AqIR0ZW58P8&list=PLFCAC9E1B0011D8A1