By- Azra Rizvi
On the night of July Fourth, as Americans celebrated US Independence Day, a wooden sculpture of US first lady Melania Trump was torched near her hometown of Sevnica, Slovenia.
A Berlin-based American artist, Brad Downey, told Reuters that he had the life-sized blackened, disfigured sculpture removed as soon as he was informed of the incident by the police on July 5th.
Mr. Downey, who was hoping that the statue would encourage a dialogue about the political situation in the United States, underlining Melania Trump’s status as an immigrant married to a president sworn to cut down immigration, said that he wanted to know “why they did it.”
Melania Trump’s office in Washington did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
The President of the United States, Donald Trump, in recent weeks, has vowed to take a hard line on anyone destroying or vandalizing US historical monuments, as political activism against racial injustice has swept across the country.
It was said by Downey, 39, that he had filed a police report and would like to interview the culprits, if found, for a film he is preparing ahead of his exhibition expected to open in Slovenia in September.
Reuters was told by police spokeswoman Alenka Drenik, “The investigation, in this case, has not been completed yet so we cannot reveal details due to the interest of further procedures.”
Although the face of the statue was rough-hewn and unrecognizable before the fire, the figure was painted with a pale blue wraparound coat which resembled the one Melania Trump wore at the swearing-in of her husband U.S. President Donald Trump.
Local folk artist Ales Zupevc had carved the figure with a chainsaw from the trunk of a living linden tree.
A huge wooden statue resembling Donald Trump which was designed by a local artist last year was set on fire in January, in Slovenia’s city of Moravce, east of the capital Ljubljana.