00:00 GMT05 August 2020
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    Last summer, a nearly 8-metre (26 ft.) tall wooden statue of President Donald Trump was constructed in Slovenia, east of the capital Ljubljana, in his wife Melania Trump’s homeland, only to be burnt to the ground by unknown arsonists in January this year.

    Amid a recent drive accompanying Black Lives Matter (BLM) protests to remove sculptures of historically significant American figures professed to be linked to either slavery or racial issues in the US, a rather idiosyncratic wooden statue of US First Lady Melania Trump was reportedly set on fire near her hometown in Slovenia, reports Reuters.

    The charred remains of the effigy, reportedly bearing but a crude likeness to the First Lady, were beyond saving and promptly removed.

    The figure, carved out of a linden tree trunk using a chainsaw on the outskirts of Sevnica and unveiled in her hometown of Sevnica last June, had drawn mixed reactions from local residents.

    ​Some locals had complained that the statue, depicting FLOTUS wearing a blue coat similar to one she wore to her husband's inauguration, looked more like the Smurfs character Smurfette, with others branding it a "disgrace", and a “scarecrow”.

    Berlin-based 39-year-old American conceptual artist Brad Downey, who commissioned local artisan Ales Zupevc to carve the statue, was cited by Reuters as saying it was targeted on 4 July, US Independence Day.

    An investigation has been launched into the incident, says Reuters citing local police, with Downey cited as wanting to know who was behind the incident targeting his brainchild and what were their motives.

    According to him, he had hoped the statue to the First Lady might inspire dialogue about the US political situation and feed into the debate on immigration.

    There has been no official comment from the White House regarding the incident.

    Netizens swooped in on the news, with many commenting on how "life-like" they thought the sculpture had looked.

    ​Some weighed in on the possible motives behind the torching of the statue.

    ​Some wondered if perhaps the First Lady herself might have had a hand in destroying the effigy.

    ​Since Donald Trump took office in 2017, Sevnica had become a magnet for tourists and journalists on a quest to dig up insights into the US First Lady’s past.

    US President Donald Trump and first lady Melania Trump dance during the Freedom Ball at the Washington DC Convention Center following Donald Trump's inauguration as the 45th President of the United States, in Washington, DC, on January 20, 2017
    © AFP 2020 / JIM WATSON
    US President Donald Trump and first lady Melania Trump dance during the Freedom Ball at the Washington DC Convention Center following Donald Trump's inauguration as the 45th President of the United States, in Washington, DC, on January 20, 2017

    Cashing in on the new attraction, locals had been producing an array of Melania Trump-branded merchandise, including slippers, cakes, and Trump-like burgers.

    In January this year, a wooden statue mocking President Donald Trump, also constructed in Slovenia, east of the capital Ljubljana, the birthplace of his wife, Melania Trump, was burned to the ground by arsonists.

    ​Nearly 8 metres (26 ft.) tall, the figure had portrayed Trump complete with trademark hair, blue suit, white shirt and long red tie, and his right arm raised high in a seeming resemblance to that of New York’s Statue of Liberty.

    A mechanism inside the statue, when triggered, had opened a mouth displaying shark-like teeth.

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    Tags:
    Black Lives Matter, Black Lives Matter, Donald Trump, Independence Day, Independence Day, Independence Day, Melania Trump
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