LONDON — It is not often that President Trump follows in the footsteps of his wife, Melania Trump, but he has received a wooden statue in his likeness in her homeland, Slovenia, after the same, dubious honor was bestowed on her in July.
Like the effigy of Mrs. Trump carved with a chain saw and unveiled on a riverside near her hometown this summer, this new work — a slatted structure nearly 26 feet tall — has its share of detractors.
Some critics denounced it online as a “waste of wood” and said it should never have been built, according to the BBC.
It’s not hard to recognize the navy suit, the long red tie, the tanned jowls and the jutting blond hairstyle. Nor is it difficult to draw conclusions from the closed fist of an upraised arm, or from the pouting mechanized mouth, which swings open to reveal spiked teeth.
According to the local sports and cultural society that built the figure in Sela pri Kamniku, a hamlet of 144 people, it’s not a portrait of Mr. Trump at all, but rather a version of the Statue of Liberty. Hence the spiked headpiece and the upraised arm.
The creator, Tomaz Schlegl, an architect, had a clear vision, and message, in mind when he began building the statue in August.
“I designed the statue because people have forgotten what the Statue of Liberty stands for,” Mr. Schlegl told Reuters on Friday. “I want to alert people to the rise of populism, and it would be difficult to find a bigger populist in this world than Donald Trump.”
“Like all populists, the statue has two faces,” Mr. Schlegl added. “One is humane and nice, the other is that of a vampire.”
The new statue was to be unveiled on Saturday. But news got out faster, and as interest in the event skyrocketed, the sports and cultural society canceled the ceremony for safety reasons, Slovenia’s national news service S.T.A. reported.
In the first lady’s hometown, Sevnica, tributes to her abound in the form of cakes, tea and even special salami. Artists in the small mountainous nation this summer appeared keen to change the celebratory narrative.
Mrs. Trump’s likeness was carved into a tree, rooted deeply in a river bank, and is unlikely to go anywhere soon. But the statue of Mr. Trump, about 44 miles away, across verdant hills, is making only a temporary appearance.
The wooden statue echoes the sort of welcome Mr. Trump received when he visited Europe in the past. In London last year, protesters flew a giant balloon effigy of the president depicted as a baby.
Not everyone in Sela pri Kamniku was impressed by Mr. Schlegl’s totem to populism. Some local residents described the statue as ugly and out of place in the leafy hillside on which it stood.
One villager plowed a tractor into the statue before its completion and threatened to set it on fire, according to news reports.
Though comments on social media described it as “disaster,” others praised the statue as a creative idea.
“I thought it will be a sculpture, one statue,” Stane Supar, the owner of the land where the figure stands, told reporters. “But now this huge thing has grown, and everyone tells me it’s a provocation.”
Efforts to contact Mr. Schlegl and the local authorities for comment were unsuccessful.
Under pressure from unhappy residents, Mr. Supar has given permission for the work to stay put only until Halloween. The Slovenian daily Delo reported that the original plan was to turn the statue into a giant bonfire. But with new interest in the work, it may be spared the flames and donated instead.
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