6:40PM BST 19 Aug 2014
A theatre workshop aimed at fostering “a greater understanding of discrimination” has been pulled from a Swedish city festival program after anti-racism campaigners accused it of offensive, racist ‘blackfacing’.
“With Other Eyes,” by the Danish theatre group, Global Voices, uses make-up artists to change participants’ race and gender, allowing them to “see the world from a new perspective”.
Martin Neilson, the Danish actor who launched the project, said it had been intended as a “celebration of diversity”, and blamed the organizers of the Malmö festival for the “huge mistake” of illustrating it with a picture of a blond Swedish boy wearing black face paint.
it’s important to understand that we are making people over, both from white to black or brown or yellow, and the other way,” he said.
“We are not at all doing blackface. It has nothing to do with parody.”
The project was cancelled after Jallow Mamadou, Chairman of the National Association for Afro-Swedes, handed a 240-signature petition to the festival organizers condemning the workshop. “It’s extremely racist to have white people blackening their faces and walking around acting like idiots and making a fool out of themselves,” he told The Telegraph.