The First Lady iconic blue dress from US President Donald Trump’s inauguration in 2016 inspired the piece. Folk artist Ales Zupevc carved the blocky, rustic figure from the trunk of a living linden tree. But the bizarre tool he used contributed to the inaccurate likeness to Melania.
Commissioned by Berlin-based American artist Brad Downey, Mr Zupevc carved the statue with a chainsaw.
The tribute accompanies Downey’s exhibition in the capital Ljubljana exploring Melania’s roots in the small Alpine country.
But due to no attempt at an accurate likeness, the gallery in Ljubljana appears uncertain how seriously to take the statue.
“Perhaps we are simply trying vigorously to make sense of things that might only be a slapstick prank,” it says in a leaflet. “Who knows?”
The statue has since received mixed reviews as locals have described it as a “disgrace”.
They added it looked more like a Smurf than the First Lady.
One resident said: “If the monument was meant to be a parody, then the artist has been successful.
“We in Sevnica can only laugh and, at the same time, hold our heads in our hands over their the Trumps’ catastrophic reputation.”
But another resident of a nearby town called Rozno said she thought the statue was a “good idea”.
She said: “Melania is a Slovenian hero, she made it to the top in the US.”
Downey said he wanted to “have a dialogue with my country’s political situation” and highlight Melania Trump’s status as an immigrant married to a president sworn to reduce immigration.
“Let’s face it,” he says in a short film being shown as part of the exhibition, “she owns half of America while I have nothing.”
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