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Thursday July 16th, 2020 12:51PM

Melania Trump depicted in wooden statue in native Slovenia

By The Associated Press
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LJUBLJANA, Slovenia (AP) — The likeness of Melania Trump has been carved in wood in her native Slovenia.

A life-size sculpture of the U.S. first lady has been unveiled in her hometown of Sevnica, drawing mixed reactions from the locals.

The rustic figure was cut from the trunk of a linden tree, showing her in a pale blue dress like the one she wore at Donald Trump's presidential inauguration. Her face is depicted in a naive local style.

It is the work of American artist Brad Downey, who is also showing photos of the statue in an exhibition in the Slovenian capital, Ljubljana.

"This seems a very interesting thing to show to the people," curator of the exhibition Jani Pirnat said. "It expresses the topic that is somehow hanging in the air."

The first lady, born Melanija Knaus, changed her name to Melania Knauss when she started modeling. She settled in New York in 1996 and met Trump two years later.

Since the inauguration, the first lady has triggered mixed reactions in Slovenia, ranging from adoration, to criticism that she has not done enough to promote her small Alpine state. She has not publicly visited Slovenia since the inauguration in 2017.

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