“Painful Cake” by the Afro-Swedish artist Makode Linde
The art performance “Painful Cake” by the Afro-Swedish artist Makode Linde, staged at the Moderna Museet in Stockholm, has received a strong reaction from the Afro-Swedish community due to the installation’s racist content.
The cake consisted of a disproportionate female body with large breasts and vagina coupled with tiny limbs, while the artist himself acted as the head of this monstrous creation, painted as a crude minstrel caricature.
The Swedish minister of culture was encouraged to cut the cake and she chose to cut at the point of the vagina, which she then fed to the artist to the applauds and laughter of the audience.
The artist claims this to be an antiracist performance and explains that the cake was supposed to symbolize the mass graves, cutting and female genital mutilation. The organizers of the event and the minister have since argued that art has the right to provoke.
However, we must ask ourselves what relations of power this “provocation” builds on, if those left with the feeling of exploitation and exposure – and thus also those most offended by the performance – are also those this creation of art claims to liberate: namely black women.