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Melania Trump Statue Returns in Slovenia. (This One Is Harder to Burn.)

When a picket statue of Melania Trump was erected close to her hometown in Slovenia final 12 months, it was mocked as trying like a Smurfette or a scarecrow. Then it was set on fireplace.

Now, the artist who commissioned it’s again with a brand new one — and this sculpture, made from bronze, is meant to have a extra enduring legacy.

“With the Black Lives Matter protests, there’s been a tendency to rip down monuments, so I wanted to install a permanent one,” the artist, Brad Downey, an American, stated in a phone interview from Slovenia on Wednesday.

Although Mr. Downey stated he didn’t assist President Trump or his anti-immigrant insurance policies, the artist stated that Mrs. Trump’s origins obliquely contradicted her husband’s views. “We’ve got a president who is against immigration, but his wife is an example of successful immigration,” Mr. Downey stated.

The sculpture is certainly one of a number of vacationer attracts which have arisen in Sevnica, a city of 5,000 individuals in japanese Slovenia the place Mrs. Trump grew up, in the time since her husband started his 2016 presidential election marketing campaign. Since he grew to become the front-runner, the city has organized Melania-themed tours and bought Melania wine, Melania slippers and Melania salami — and attracted 20,000 guests a 12 months in the method.

Last 12 months, Mr. Downey commissioned an area folks artist to carve a rustic sculpture of Mrs. Trump out of a tree trunk, depicting the primary woman waving her hand and carrying an outfit that evoked the powder-blue cashmere gown she wore at her husband’s inauguration in 2017. The folks artist was born in the identical hospital as Mrs. Trump — and across the similar time — and Mr. Downey had interviewed him for a movie about immigration.

The statue was erected on the banks of the Sava river close to Sevnica. But in July, a 12 months after its set up, arsonists set the sculpture on fire, damaging its face.

Credit…Brad Downey

Mr. Downey had the charred sculpture moved to his non permanent studio in Slovenia shortly afterward, and has since exhibited the broken work in a seaside city close to Sevnica.

He stated that he had lengthy needed to make a bronze reproduction, and that the anti-racism protests in the United States and abroad this 12 months after the police killing of George Floyd had pushed him to achieve this.

The new sculpture — a life-size, monochrome work created by one other Slovenian craftsman and unveiled by Mr. Downey on Tuesday — stands on the identical tree trunk as the previous one.

An connected plaque dedicates it to “the eternal memory of a monument to Melania which stood at this location.”

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