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Melania Trump Statue Raises Eyebrows in Slovenia

American who commissioned it calls the work 'absolutely beautiful'
By Neal Colgrass,  Newser Staff
Posted Jul 6, 2019 2:15 PM CDT

(Newser) – A new chainsaw-carved statue of Melania Trump is drawing pretty mixed reviews back in Slovenia. "It doesn't look anything like Melania. It's a Smurfette," one resident tells ITV News of the nine-foot-tall work. "It's a disgrace." But the unusual carving, which stands by a river near Melania's hometown of Sevnica, has two staunch defenders: the men behind it. American artist Brade Downey commissioned a local pipe layer and part-time carver to depict the Slovenian beauty who, as everyone knows, made it big in America. "I can understand why people might think that this falls short as a description of her physical appearance," Downey, 39, tells AFP of the work that some compare to a scarecrow. But he calls the final result "absolutely beautiful".

Downey also made a video documentary that depicts carver Alex Zupevc hard at work. "I've never done a statue of a whole human figure," says Zupevc, per the New York Times. "Busts yes. Vultures, et cetera, but never a whole person. She might come and see the thing. She might like it." So is the whole thing really a gag? Downey admits he wanted the work to have "some cheekiness to it," and CNN notes that the video will be part of a documentary in his latest Berlin exhibition, "Slow Motion Disasters." Regardless, anyone visiting sleepy Sevnica for the statue can also buy Melania-themed products like honey, cake, chocolate, and slippers. "Melania is a Slovenian hero, she made it to the top in the US," says the resident of a nearby town. (Read more Melania Trump stories.)

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