A bronze statue of US first lady Melania Trump has been unveiled in her native Slovenia to replace a wooden version destroyed by suspected arsonists a couple of months ago – but not everyone is an admirer.
The sculpture replaces a timber work that was burned down on American Indepence Day, and has been installed near Ms Trump’s hometown of Sevnica, in central Slovenia.
Both works are collaborations between American artist Brad Downey and a local craftsman, Ales “Maxi” Zupevc.
But they have brought mixed reviews, with some Slovenians describing the original work as a “Smurfette” and “a disgrace”, according to the BBC.
The rustic figure showed Ms Trump in a pale blue dress similar to the one she wore to her husband Donald Trump’s US presidential inauguration. It was cut from the trunk of a linden tree.
Others found symbolism in the piece, which was torched by unknown arsonists on July 4.
The bronze replacement erected on the charred stump of the old work this week has fared no better with local critics. Social media users have reportedly labelled it everything from “disturbing” to “hilarious”.
Some unkind Twitter users also suggested it was a perfect match for Ms Trump.
“The statue exudes the same warmth,” wrote one.
“Really captures the likeness,” said another.
Despite that, the life-sized work bears no obvious resemblance to the first lady. But it carries a plaque that says it is “dedicated to the eternal memory of a monument to Melania which stood at this location”.
Born Melanija Knavs in nearby Novo Mesto in 1970, Ms Trump grew up in Sevnica when Slovenia was part of the communist-ruled former Yugoslavia.
In 2019, her husband was honoured with his own Statue of Liberty in the Slovenian village of Sela pri Kamniku, about 30 kilometres north of the country’s capital, Ljubljana. In a striking coincidence, the eight-metre tall wooden work was also destroyed by arsonists.