Culture Minister Lena Adelsohn Liljeroth cut the 'racist' cake at an art event (Facebook)
Culture Minister Lena Adelsohn Liljeroth cut the 'racist' cake at an art event (Facebook)

Sweden's minister of culture has been urged to resign after a stunt to highlight the plight of female genital mutialtion in Africa backfired.

Lena Adelsohn Liljeroth was photographed slicing a cake depicting an African woman at the Museum of Modern Art in Stockholm.

Liljeroth performed a symbolic "clitoridectomy" by cutting off pieces of the cake, in which the sponge was coloured red to symbolise blood.

The artist who created the installation, Makode Aj Linde, blacked up his face and screamed every time someone cut into the cake as part of the event.

Linde, who is black and was born in Stockholm, used the extra makeup for exaggerated emphasis.

He then posted the image of Linde cutting the cake on his Facebook page and soon provoked a flurry of heated responses from viewers, who accused the minister of taking part in "a racist spectacle".

The National Association for African Swedes said it was a crude racist caricature and called for Liljeroth to resign.

Kitimbwa Sabuni, the association's spokesperson, said: "Her participation, as she laughs, drinks, and eats cake, merely adds to the insult against people who suffer from racist taunts and against women affected by circumcision.

"We have no confidence in her any longer."

Liljeroth acknowledged the association's concerns, but defended her actions.

"I understand quite well that this is provocative and that it was a rather bizarre situation," she said.

"I was invited to speak at World Art Day about art's freedom and the right to provoke. And then they wanted me to cut the cake."

She said the situation had been misinterpreted.

"[The artist] claims that it challenges a romanticised and exoticised view of the West about something that is really about violence and racism," she said. "Art needs to be provocative."

Linde said the work had been misunderstood and told the Swedish national news agency TT: "Considering the poor offering of art in Sweden that could be defined as African-Swedish, one would have hoped that the people in the National Association for African Swedes were more aware of the artwork that I do."