New Melania Trump statue unveiled in first lady’s native Slovenia after arsonists torched the first

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A bronze statue representing US first lady Melania Trump has been unveiled in her native Slovenia to replace a wooden one that was set on fire in July.

The new sculpture is a replica of the original, which was carved by US artist Brad Downey, and was placed near the first lady’s hometown of Sevnica, in central Slovenia.

The original statue received mixed reviews following its unveiling.

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

Some Slovenians described the work as a “Smurfette” and “a disgrace”, the BBC reported.

Others found symbolism in the piece.

It was torched by unknown arsonists on July 4.

Composite image: Left, a wooden sculpture of Melania Trump; right, photo of Ms Trump in a similar blue outfit and pose
The first rustic statue depicted the first lady in a dress similar to the one she wore to her husband’s presidential inauguration.(Reuters: Borut Zivulovic, Evan Vucci)

A plaque next to the new statue said it was “dedicated to the eternal memory of a monument to Melania which stood at this location”.

“We are here today because we put up again a statue of Melania to the place where it was burnt and to commemorate the statue that was set on fire,” said Slovenian artist Marko Vivoda.

The life-sized sculpture bears no obvious resemblance to the first lady.

Born Melanija Knavs in nearby Novo Mesto in 1970, Ms Trump grew up in Sevnica while Slovenia was part of the communist-ruled former Yugoslavia.

Her husband, Donald Trump, was last year honoured with his own Statue of Liberty in the Slovenian village of Sela pri Kamniku, around 30 kilometres north of the capital, Ljubljana.


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