Monkey Jesus, but make it FLOTUS. That’s what a new statue depicting Melania Trump in her hometown of Sevnica, Slovenia is serving.
Unveiled last Friday, the statue is the creation of a U.S. artist, Brad Downey, who hired a local sculptor to fashion the image of Melania by taking a chainsaw to a tree. The result is what Reuters calls “rustic,” but what some local residents call a “disgrace,” according to the BBC.
Other residents said it looked like “Smurfette” and “doesn’t look anything like Melania.” Her wooden figure is shown in her powder-blue inauguration dress, her large, misshapen paw-hand raised to the sky.
As Reuters writes, “Downey said he wanted to ‘have a dialogue with my country’s political situation’ and highlight Melania Trump’s status as an immigrant married to a president sworn to reduce immigration.” Ales “Maxi” Zupevc, the Slovenian chainsaw sculptor responsible for actually carving Melania out of a tree, is a “blue-collar pipe layer” (every girl’s fantasy!) according to the Washington Post, and just so happened to be born in the same hospital in the same month (April 1970) as Melania Trump, according to a short documentary film about the project.
While Downey’s previous works include Wisdom Testicles and Cactus Hand, the artist insists this piece of art isn’t just trolling. Part of the point, as the Post writes, is highlighting how drastically different the lives of the sculptor and Melania—now one of the most recognizable faces in the world—have turned out.
From the Post:
He didn’t want anyone well known or academic, instead seeking a hobbyist whose humility would add just the right touch to the rough chain sawing. The chain saw was Downey’s idea too: a “poetic aggressiveness” to complement the beauty, as he described it.
“I wanted to follow a working-class guy doing art on the side,” Downey told The Post. “He’s always made art on his own. He didn’t make art to become a famous artist. I thought it was charming and honest and it wasn’t corrupted by academia.”
Zupevc appears to be a fan of the first lady, calling her “a simple woman” and “modest”—I’m assuming this means he hasn’t seen the photo of her eating her jewel pasta.
“But let’s face it,” Zupevc added, “she owns half of America, while I have nothing.”