ROZNO, Slovenia (Reuters) – A wooden sculpture of the first lady of the United States, Melania Trump, was burnt down near her hometown of Sevnica, Slovenia, on the night of July 4, while Americans celebrated the Independence Day, said the artist who commissioned the sculpture.
Brad Downey, an American artist based in Berlin, told Reuters that he had removed the blackened and disfigured life-size sculpture as soon as police informed him on July 5 of the incident.
“I want to know why they did it,” said Downey, who had hoped the statue would foster a dialogue on the political situation in the United States, highlighting the status of Melania Trump as an immigrant married to a juror president reduce immigration.
Melania Trump’s Washington office did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
In recent weeks, President Donald Trump has pledged to take a firm stand against anyone who destroys or vandalizes American historic monuments, while political activism against racial injustice has swept the country.
Downey, 39, said he had filed a police report and that he would like to interview the culprits, if found, for a film he is preparing before his exhibition which is due to open in Slovenia in September.
“The investigation into this case has not yet been completed, so we cannot reveal details due to the interest in new procedures,” police spokeswoman Alenka Drenik told Reuters.
Although the face of the statue was crudely carved and unrecognizable before the fire, the figure was painted with a pale blue wrap-around coat resembling that which Melania Trump wore during the swearing-in of her husband, US President Donald Trump .
The figure was sculpted with a chainsaw by local folk artist Ales Zupevc from the trunk of a living lime tree.
In January, a large wooden statue resembling Donald Trump, designed by a local artist last year, was burned in the Slovenian town of Moravce, east of the capital Ljubljana.