Genital Mutilation and Shock Art

More

There was some amount of outrage last week when Sweden's Minister of Culture was seen presiding over a cake made to mirror blackface. The cake was actually made by a black artist in Sweden, Makode Linde. Like photoshopping Venus and the Old Masters, the piece is too didactic and spectacular for my taste. I tend to find "shock art" ultimately numbing and rather boring. 


But however you feel, it's worth understanding how it came about and what the guy was trying to accomplish:

"I've been working since 2004 with the image of blackness and criticizing different ideas of black identity within my art," Linde told Al Jazeera. I've been doing this by revamping the blackface into different forms and thereby critiquing it." The cake represents a woman receiving female circumcision. 

Linde says he created it to critique the Western tendency to point fingers at oppression in Africa, without examining its own racism, sexism and homophobia. "Racism, oppression against woman, or homophobia can take place in Africa, in Europe, in Sweden, in anywhere," Linde says. "By then labeling oppression to only be female circumcision or taking a certain form, I think that's putting on blindfolds for seeing what oppression really is."

Jump to comments
Presented by

Ta-Nehisi Coates is a national correspondent at The Atlantic, where he writes about culture, politics, and social issues. He is the author of the memoir The Beautiful Struggle.

Get Today's Top Stories in Your Inbox (preview)

The Remote Warehouse Where Confiscated Wildlife Ends Up

A government facility outside of Denver houses more than a million products of the illegal wildlife trade, from tigers and bears to bald eagles.


Elsewhere on the web

Join the Discussion

After you comment, click Post. If you’re not already logged in you will be asked to log in or register. blog comments powered by Disqus

Video

Where the Wild Things Go

A government facility outside of Denver houses more than a million products of the illegal wildlife trade, from tigers and bears to bald eagles.

Video

Adults Need Playtime Too

When was the last time you played your favorite childhood game?

Video

Is Wine Healthy?

James Hamblin prepares to impress his date with knowledge about the health benefits of wine.

Video

The World's Largest Balloon Festival

Nine days, more than 700 balloons, and a whole lot of hot air

Writers

Up
Down

More in Entertainment

From This Author

Just In