I know that art pushes boundaries, but when I first saw a performance art piece by black Swedish artist Makode Linde, I didn’t know what to think.

The art piece—a cake, shaped to look like “stereotypical African” woman with extremely dark, blue-black skin,  “tribal” face paintings, dreadlocks, and neck-stretching rings—was on display in Sweden for World Art Day.

On the surface, the piece, dubbed the “Painful Cake” (the actual name seems to be “Clitoridectomy Cake“) could have been just a well-made sculpture of a tribal African woman made of cake. But what made the piece truly disturbing was the fact that as it was being cut (and eaten), the artist (whose face was painted to match the body) screamed in pain at every slice.

(Warning: the video might be disturbing to some)

It was such a macabre scene that I just couldn’t quite wrap my head around it. Add to it the fact that Sweden’s Minister of Culture, Lena Adelsohn Liljeroth–who has taken a hard line against racism in the country—was seen cutting into the cake with glee just blew me away.

Although many may brush this off as just a controversial piece of art, the fact that historically black bodies, and in particular black female bodies, have been dissected, disregarded, and put on display made me feel less like I was looking at a work of art, and more like I was watching Sarah Baartman being sliced to pieces.

What do you think of the ‘Painful Cake’? Is it offensive or just art?

*Photo via friatider.se

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