Racial controversy in art coming from Sweden again that’s making headlines in Europe; although it doesn’t appear to have crossed over to the USA yet.
I say “again” because… remember Makode Linde, the “Swedish Cake” artist from earlier this year? If not, maybe you’ll recall Tanya Steele’s op-ed on the controversial piece of art, which caused a bit of a stir here on S&A (read it HERE to catch up if you don’t remember, or you’re not at all familiar).
Today, however, the focus has long shifted from Linde’s now infamous blackface – the happy, grinning ‘pickaninny’ – cake, to controvery surrounding an a recently-released Swedish children’s film titled Little Pink And The Motley Crew.
What’s the dealio? Well, start with the image above (full poster for the film below).
But given that all of the coverage I found of this was in Swedish, despite Google’s translator, I didn’t want to misintepret anything that’s being said about this, so I’ll instead let our friends at the Afro-Europe blog fill you in with what they’ve been able to determine thus far:
The Afro-Swedes are tired of the racist depiction of blackness in the Swedish children’s film Little Pink and the Motley Crew. So Oivvio Polite and Staffan Carlsson launched a website to protest against these representations.
In response to the recent controversy over the cultural meanings of the depiction of blackness in the film Little Pink and the Motley Crew, we launch this site to enable the black diaspora and other people of color to express resistance against white refusals to acknowledge that its representation of racial diversity can be regarded as stereotypical and offensive. Since there are very few public arenas for challenging white hegemony, we would like to offer an opportunity for you to have your say in the matter. The strategy is to gather images of people countering the claim that stereotypes can be detached from a history of racist representations.
One synopsis I translated said that the film is about every child’s right to be who they are: Angry, dirty, sparkling, joyful or melancholic.
Interestingly, the movie is narrated by Swedish actor Stellan Skarsgård, whose name and face Americans should be familiar with, since he’s starred in several Hollywood movies – most recently playing the villain in the remake of Girl With The Dragon Tattoo.
I wonder if anyone has asked him about this; or maybe he figured it’s just some small Swedish childrens movie and no one outside of that country would see it, or know that he had anything to do with it, since it’s an animated film, and we don’t see his face. I actually had to dig a little bit to find out that he was involved. It’s definitely not listed on his IMDB page.
The Afro-Europe blog promises to return with a full report on this story, so when that happens, you’ll know. I’ll also contact the people behind the protest.
A website has been set up to house the protest, where you’ll find photos like the one at the bottom of this post. Visit the website HERE, although it’s a little bare at the moment.
In the meantime, here’s the trailer for the animated film (which is not subtitled), but you get the picture; and the full poster follows; both should tell you much of what you need to know about why Afro-Swedes are protesting the children’s movie: