New Melania Trump statue unveiled after last one was set on fire

Bronze statue erected near the US first lady’s home town in Slovenia

Brodie Owen
Wednesday 16 September 2020 15:56 BST
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A bronze statue depicting Melania Trump has been unveiled in her hometown in Slovenia.
A bronze statue depicting Melania Trump has been unveiled in her hometown in Slovenia. (REUTERS)

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A bronze statue representing Melania Trump has been unveiled near her home town in Slovenia to replace a wooden one that was set on fire on US Independence Day.

The statue bears no obvious resemblance to Mrs Trump.

But a plaque next to it reads that the piece is “dedicated to the eternal memory of a monument to Melania which stood at this location”.  

The original, by American artist Brad Downey, was set on fire on 4 July by an unknown arsonist after being labelled a “disgrace” by locals in the town of Sevnica, where the US first lady grew up.

Residents said the first statue looked like the Smurf character “Smurfette” because of its pale blue colour, representing the dress that Mrs Trump wore to her husband’s inauguration.

The rustic figure was cut from a tree trunk and placed on the outskirts of her home town in 2019.

Mr Downey has since exhibited the burnt statue in Slovenia as a reminder of the “political tensions that are erupting in my country”.

Another statue, depicting Donald Trump, was unveiled in August last year in the town of Sela pri Kamniku.

The wooden statue is 8 metres tall and depicts Mr Trump with a square head and jaw, raising his fist in the air.

Its creator, Tomaz Schlegl, said at the time that it was meant as a comment on pupulism.

“For the first time since World War Two, populism is prevailing: look at Johnson, look at Trump, our president or [Hungary's prime minister, Viktor] Orban. Where is this world heading?” he said. 

“We want to open people's eyes about what democracy is.”

Charred wooden statue of Melania Trump
Charred wooden statue of Melania Trump (AFP via Getty Images)

Mrs Trump was born in Novo Mesto, then part of Yugoslavia, in 1970.  

When she was a teenager, she and her family moved to a two-storey house in Sevnica – a town of about 5,000 people, located about 50 miles east of the Slovenian capital, Ljubljana. 

Since her husband became president, tourists have visited the town, eager to learn more about Mrs Trump’s heritage.

Residents have brought out ranges of related merchandise, including slippers, cakes, and Trump-like burgers with cheese “hair”.

A “Melania cake” is also sold at the local bakery.

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