Statue of Melania Trump set on fire in Slovenia
A wooden sculpture of US first lady Melania Trump near her hometown in Slovenia was set on fire the night of July 4, according to the artist who commissioned the piece.
Brad Downey, a Berlin-based American artist, told Reuters the wooden sculpture near Trump’s hometown of Sevnica was burnt.
“I want to know why they did it,” Downey told Reuters.
Downey reportedly said he filed a police report and that he would like to interview the people behind the incident, if they’re found, for a film he is preparing ahead of his exhibition that is set to open in September.
Police spokeswoman Alenka Drenik told Reuters the police can’t reveal details since the investigation into the case is ongoing.
The wooden statue was unveiled in Slovenia last year. It depicts Melania Trump in the blue outfit she wore to her husband’s inauguration in 2017, raising her left hand as if to wave. It became the butt of some jokes last year after it was revealed, but Downey defended the artwork at the time.
“People might laugh at the aesthetics of the monument, but the context plays a very important role,” Downey told The Washington Post at the time. “This is not the random positioning of a monument. People may laugh, but the context still resonates.”
The statue’s burning comes as President Trump has taken a tough stance on people destroying and toppling statues across the U.S. During a Fourth of July celebration at Mount Rushmore, he announced an executive order to create a “National Garden of American Heroes.”
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Statues, often of Confederate figures and white supremacists, have been targeted amid nationwide protests over police brutality and racial inequality sparked by the death of George Floyd after a Minneapolis police officer knelt on his neck for nearly nine minutes at the end of May. Activists have renewed calls for monuments honoring such figures to be removed, and in many cases, officials have removed or slated statues for removal.