Friday 20 September 2019

Wooden statue of Donald Trump raises eyebrows in Slovenia

Opinion is divided on the merits of the artwork in the homeland of US first lady, Melania.

A wooden statue resembling Donald Trump is built near Kamnik, Slovenia (Darko Bandic/AP)
A wooden statue resembling Donald Trump is built near Kamnik, Slovenia (Darko Bandic/AP)

By Darko Bandic, Associated Press

A large wooden statue of President Donald Trump has been erected in Slovenia, the homeland of his wife Melania.

The nearly eight-metre high (26 feet) construction shows Mr Trump with his trademark hair style, blue suit, white shirt and a long red tie.

His right arm, fist clenched, is raised high like that of New York’s Statue Of Liberty.

When triggered, a mechanism opens a red-painted mouth and shark-like teeth appear.

ipanews_f617089c-5d95-4d20-ad5f-0c6b754286ad_embedded244927428
President Donald Trump (Carolyn Kaster/AP)

“Like all populists, the statue has two faces,” its creator, Tomaz Schlegl, said.

“One is humane and nice, the other is that of a vampire.”

The monument was built on private property among the lush greens and rolling hills of the sleepy village of Sela pri Kamniku, some 20 miles northeast of the Slovenian capital, Ljubljana.

The statue has a temporary permit and has to be removed by Halloween, October 31.

ipanews_f617089c-5d95-4d20-ad5f-0c6b754286ad_embedded244934966
The statue of Donald Trump must be removed by Halloween (Darko Bandic/AP)

Some local villagers, unhappy with its appearance, suggest torching it that day.

“I thought it will be a sculpture, one statue,” said Stane Supar, who owns land where it stands.

“But now this huge thing has grown, and everyone tells me it’s a provocation.”

Mr Schlegel, an architect, defended his project, saying it is “provocation against populism that the world is full of”.

“It is the Statue Of Liberty, which no one today knows what it represents,” he said.

ipanews_f617089c-5d95-4d20-ad5f-0c6b754286ad_embedded244934958
The president’s wife hails from Slovenia (Darko Bandic/AP)

“The pose is that of Superman. He can do and say whatever he wants without consequences.”

Two American tourists came to the remote corner of Slovenia after hearing about the statue.

“It seems like a really unusual location for a piece of art like this,” said Eddie Flawer from Santa Rosa, California.

“I’m not very fond of Donald Trump and I didn’t know what to make of his hand up and doing the salute and the spikes coming out of the top of his head,” Mr Flawer said.

ipanews_f617089c-5d95-4d20-ad5f-0c6b754286ad_embedded243331894
US President Donald Trump and Melania Trump (Andrew Matthews/PA)

“But maybe it’s a metaphor of the Statue Of Liberty which would make some sense since he seems to be doing everything in his power to negate the beauty and the spirit of the Statue Of Liberty.”

It is not the first time in Slovenia that a member of the Trump family has been carved in wood.

A life-size sculpture of the US first lady was unveiled in her hometown of Sevnica in June, drawing mixed reactions from the locals.

The rustic figure was cut from the trunk of a linden tree, showing her in a pale blue dress like the one she wore at Donald Trump’s presidential inauguration.

ipanews_f617089c-5d95-4d20-ad5f-0c6b754286ad_embedded244934964
A wooden statue resembling Donald Trump (Darko Bandic/AP)

Her face is depicted in a naive local style.

The first lady, born Melanija Knavs, changed her name to Melania Knauss when she started modelling.

She settled in New York in 1996 and met Mr Trump two years later.

PA Media

Today's news headlines, directly to your inbox every morning.

Editors Choice

Also in World News