A life-sized wood-carved statue of US First Lady Melania Trump erected in her hometown Sevnica, Slovenia has received mixed reactions. Described as a true likeliness by US artist Brad Downey and local chainsaw artisan Ales Zupevc, the statue was carved out of a single tree trunk.

The first public monument dedicated to Donald Trump’s wife, the statue features Melania in the powder blue dress she wore to Trump’s inauguration in 2017. But some of those who have seen it are complaining that it looks nothing like her. That is not entirely surprising, considering that the medium for the sculpture is a tree.

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currently on view at “Slow Motion Disasters“ my exhibition at Kunstraum Kreuzberg Bethanien ——————————————————————- “Melania” 2019, Sevenica, Slovenia Digital video 12:11 min ___________________________________________________ “Brad Downey’s new ongoing project ”Melania” is a documentary film consisting of several parts about the construction of a monument of Melania Trump, carved into a tree that is still rooted in her hometown of Sevnica, Slovenia. The current First Lady of the USA was born on April 26, 1970 in Novo mesto in the then Yugoslav republic of Slovenia. The sculpture of the president’s wife is made by a local pipe layer and amateur chainsaw sculptor named Maxi. Both Maxi and Melania were born on the same year in the same hospital, but their lives have taken drastically different directions. For the film, Downey and his team spent several months filming interviews with Maxi along with locations around the town. The result is a personal portrait of Maxi and his thoughts about Slovenia, the USA, Europe, immigration and class division. Through these interviews the film attempts to capture the spirit of Slovenia, which seems to be mirrored in Maxi’s interactions with his family, environment and his feelings about art, God, love, and country. By focusing on one working class man’s portrayal of a public and internationally known personality, the film offers insights on local and global problems and policies illuminated by the USA and Europe and beyond.” Text: @dna_ia @kunstraumkreuzberg curated by Stéphane Bauer, Nadia Pilchowski and Sylvia Sadzinski thanks: Aljaž Celarc , Miha and Jaka Erjavec @dna_ia @sylv_inski @stephanebauerb Photo: Eric Tschernow #firstlady #slovenia #sevnica #AljažCelarc #immigration #refugees

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Stating that the statue was “positively ghoulish”, “a disgrace” and “looked like a scarecrow” locals said it resembled Smurfette more than its actual subject. Within days of the first images of the statue appearing on social media, the internet reacted with jokes and memes – with several people on Twitter sarcastically praising it for being a true likeliness. “If it was intended as a parody, the artist was successful,” wrote one Twitter user.

Reacting to the criticism, however, Downey told AFP, “I can understand why people might think that this falls short as a description of her physical appearance.”

With her first statue, the US first lady joins a long list of unfortunate sculptural homages to famous people.