US President Donald Trump’s wife Melania has been immortalized with a slightly odd-looking lifesize sculpture in Slovenia, the country of her birth.
The carved wooden likeness of the 49-year-old first lady was unveiled recently in a forest near her hometown of Sevnica in the south-east of the country, according to Slovenian media reports.
The wooden Melania stands on an ivy-covered pedestal and waves to her hometown. She is wearing a sky-blue dress, similar to the one she wore when Trump was inaugurated in January 2017.
The work is the creation of American street art artist Brad Downey. It’s part of an art project called “Ta Eho” (This Echo), which includes an exhibition of his art in the capital, Ljubljana, 90 kilometres away.
According to the artist, his aim is to explore the relationship between the local population and their prominent compatriot.
Melania Trump’s relationship to her hometown of 5,000 inhabitants Sevnica is not exactly close. While she grew up there and attended the tiny primary school, she hasn’t been back to Sevnica for more than 30 years.
For their part, the inhabitants of the village largely reacted with indifference to Melania’s sudden ascent to first lady. Nevertheless, a vibrant souvenir industry has emerged, selling wines, chocolates, cakes, cosmetics and other products named after her. The customers are mainly American tourists who have come to explore the roots of the president’s wife.
Downey, 39, lives in Berlin. He attracted attention there in 2008 when he sprayed the KaDeWe department store with green paint.
With the title “Ta Eho,” Downey is harking back to the ancient myth of the nymph Echo. She was instructed by the god Zeus to entertain his wife Hera with storytelling while he pursued his amorous adventures.
When Hera discovered the plot, she punished the nymph, so that she could no longer speak independently but only repeat the last words addressed to her. As a result, Echo was unable to confess her love to the beautiful young man Narcissus.