Tag Archives: Makode Aj Linde

Tonight! “Let Them Eat Cake: Art, Race, and Context” in DC & on Twitter

Arturo produced a great round up when the news of Makode Aj Linde’s cake hit the net. Now, Jess Solomon of The Saartjie Project (A theatre ensemble + creative tribe of women of the African Diaspora exploring race, gender and power through community-based action and cultural arts) wants to infuse that conversation with art and bring it into the real world.

Let them eat cake image

Let Them Eat Cake: Art, Race and Context? #LTEC

NEW LOCATION! Affinity Lab, 920 U St. NW (2 blocks from the U Street Metro – 10th St. exit, Green Line)

Let Them Eat Cake is a hybrid panel/performance/critical response informed by the photo of Swedish Minister of Culture Lena Adelsohn Liljeroth eating cake – made in the minstrel image of South African woman Saartjie Baartman – as part of a performance called “Painful Cake” by Makode Linde at World Art Day on April 15th at Moderna Museet, Stockholm.

LTEC is an interactive discussion featuring artists and media makers who examine race and gender:

Amber Robles-Gordon, Mixed Media Visual Artist
Dr. Arvenita Washington, Anthropologist
(added!) Ebony Golden, cultural worker, public scholar, conceptual performance artist
Latoya Peterson, Racialicious
Margaux Delotte-Bennett, Performance Artist
Renina Jarmon, Scholar, Blogger, Model Minority
Wilmer Wilson IV, Performance Artist
Moderated by Jess Solomon, Founder, The Saartjie Project

As we celebrate the 10th anniversary of Saartjie Baartman’s final homecoming, her body is still (symbolically) at the center of what has become a global discourse.

About Saartjie Baartman: Saartjie (pronounced Sar-Key) was a 19th century enslaved South African woman put on display as entertainment throughout Europe because of what the medical and scientific establishment regarded as her exceptional bodily form: protruding buttocks and an elongated labia.

Baartman was “exhibited” in London and throughout Europe under the show name Hottentot Venus (even after the abolition of the slave trade in London) from 1810 – 1815. She was also the subject of several scientific paintings and studies. When Baartman died in 1815, and her body was dissected in public, genitals and brain preserved and put on display at the Musée de l’Homme in Paris until 1997. After much political discourse over who she “belonged” to, her remains were repatriated to South Africa at the request of President Nelson Mandela on May 2, 2002.

LTEC explores:

Cultural and social implications of exploring race and gender as artists of color;
The extent and validity of “artistic license” and;
Significance of audience interpretation and reaction in their own work as well as that of Makode Linde;
Role of the media as cultural critics and tastemakers.

LTEC is on the visionary end of the spectrum and intended to bring both local creative consumers and cultural producers together to further understand how they inform each other.
Join in the discussion on Twitter: #LTEC
***

Special thanks for promotional support by Live Unchained, an international arts events and media organization featuring black women’s works.

Since this is an avant-garde kinda thing (complete with performances), I’m not preparing remarks but I will probably reference these posts:

Background Color, by Mimi Thi Nguyen of Threadbared
Background Color, Redux II, in which Mimi owns some fool that challenged her art cred
The Thin Line Between Art and Exploitation, when I took a look at the relationship between Kanye West & Vanessa Beecroft

I never wrote about the Runway video, but I may talk about that as well…

Hope to see you there!

Voices: Makode Aj Linde And That Cake

By Arturo R. García

Via CarltonJordan.com

It’s the kind of thing that shocked even experienced anti-racism activists around the Web: a few tweets went out along the lines of, What’s this going on in SwedenWHATTHEHELL? And this time the reaction was justified.

In what he has called an attempt to draw attention to the practice of female genital mutilation, Swedish artist Makode Aj Linde made himself into a “cake” as part of an art installation at the Moderna Museet in Stockholm. This past Sunday, according to reports, the country’s Minister of Culture, Lena Adelsohn Liljeroth, took part, cutting slices from “his” clitoris as he screamed in mock agony, and Liljeroth and the crowd of white attendees with her laughed at what a spokesperson for the National Afro-Swedish Association (NAFA) called “a racist spectacle.”

Shots of Linde’s project can be seen here, as well as in the other source material for this post under a heavy Trigger Warning. But as you can see from the image above, blackface was apparently a part of Linde’s repetoire before this incident.

Colorlines quoted from an interview with the artist on Swedish radio:

Makode: It’s sad if people feel offended, but considering the low number of artists in Sweden who identify as Afro-swedish I find it sad that the Afro-Swedish Association haven’t followed my artistry and do not understand what my work is about.

What did the minister of culture say to you when she was there? Was she hesitant about eating of the cake?

Makode: I didn’t clearly see her reaction, but judging from the pictures she was surprised when she realised that the cake was living. And before she put the knife into me, into the cake, she said “Your life will be better like this”. And when she put the knife into me I started screaming and begged her to stop. This was a part of the performance.

But what was the thought behind you being a living head?

Makode: I wanted to somehow make the cake more human, not just a silent object. More interactive, simply.

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