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After Melania cake, Melania honey, and even Melania slippers, the Slovenian hometown of the US first lady will now boast a statue of its most famous daughter -- albeit one that has faced decidedly mixed reviews.
The life-size statue on the outskirts of Sevnica was inaugurated on Friday and is the brainchild of 39-year-old American conceptual artist Brad Downey, who says it's the first monument anywhere dedicated to the wife of US President Donald Trump.
The sculpture was carved into a tree using a chainsaw and depicts Melania in a blue dress raising her left hand in a waving gesture, emulating a pose she struck at her husband's 2017 inauguration.
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From day to night, there's one accessory Melania Trump never fails to rock -- her sunglasses. If you recall, the Melania has sparked criticism for wearing her sunglasses at night, but that hasn't stopped her from rocking the item that has arguably become a fixture in her style as first lady. Unbeknownst to most, choosing the right pair of sunglasses for your face is both a science and an art -- and Melania perfectly masters it. The former model usually sticks to oversized square frames that cover most of her face, with pairs by Gucci and Dolce & Gabbana being her go-to. However, she does dabble with mirrored aviator-style frames on occasion.
Its somewhat naive style has led some critics on social media to brand it a "scarecrow".
"I can understand why people might think that this falls short as a description of her physical appearance," Downey told AFP, but insisted that he found the end result "absolutely beautiful".
Since Donald Trump took office in 2017, sleepy Sevnica has become a magnet for tourists and journalists searching for insights into the American first lady's past.
Entrepreneurial locals have been cashing in on the influx, offering a bewildering array of Melania-branded food and merchandise as well as a tour of the area taking in the key sites of her early years.
Downey came up with the statue as part of a project aimed at exploring the first lady's Slovenian roots and commissioned local artisan Ales Zupevc -- also known as "Maxi" -- to actually carve the sculpture.
Lake Bled: Exploring Slovenia's romantic alpine retreat
Tiny, overlooked Slovenia is one of Europe's most unexpectedly charming destinations with spectacular natural beauty, a fascinating recent history, and a spirit of adventure-- yet much of it is still off the typical tourist path. Here, in the land where the Adriatic meets the Alps, lies a romantic getaway that once entertained emperors and presidents -- Lake Bled. Nestled up against the northeast side of the rugged Julian Alps near the Austrian border, Lake Bled comes complete with a sweeping alpine panorama, a fairy-tale island, a cliff-hanging medieval castle, a lazy lakeside promenade, and Slovenia's most sought-after desserts.
Downey told AFP he was struck by the fact that Maxi was born in the same year and in the same hospital as Melania herself.
He said conversations with Maxi had enabled him to see Melania's ancestral region through local eyes.
"You see this river that she would have seen as a child, you see the mountains," he said.
However, not everyone has been moved to wax lyrical about the artwork.
Nika, a local 24-year-old architecture student, told AFP: "If the monument was meant to be a parody, then the artist has been succesful.
"We in Sevnica can only laugh and, at the same time, hold our heads in our hands over their (the Trumps') catastrophic reputation," she added.
Katarina, a 66-year-old resident of nearby Rozno, said that she thought the monument was a "good idea".
"Melania is a Slovenian hero, she made it to the top in the US," she said.
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