Move over Lady Liberty and enter… Pez Trump? A local artist has built a disturbing effigy in the likeness of US president Donald Trump to haunt the hillside of a sleepy village in Slovenia. The figure has a fierce look in his eyes and his right arm raised in the air, mimicking the pose of the Statue of Liberty.
Tomaz Schlegl, the artist behind the wooden statue, which is due to be burned on Halloween, told artnet News that the figure is “not Donald Trump,” though the 25-foot-tall structure of a besuited and square-headed man looks an awful lot like Trump. It has a pink face, puffy lips, and blond hair, from which wooden stakes emerge.
“This is the Statue of Liberty,” Schlegl said. “If people interpret it to be about Trump, if they see him in it, that’s up to them. Trump is the personification of total liberty because he has shown that he can do and say whatever he wants and he won’t be held accountable. He can still be president. But I leave all that interpretation to the public.”
While the pose is indeed reminiscent of the Statue of Liberty in New York, instead of an enlightening torch in the right hand, the not-Trump sculpture is provocatively raising a clenched fist. “For the first time since World War II, populism is prevailing: look at [British Prime Minister Boris] Johnson, look at Trump, or [Hungary’s Prime Minister Viktor] Orban,” Schlegl told AFP. “Where is this world heading?”
There is a mechanism installed in the statue’s head that allows its facial expression to change from “very friendly” during the week to “really scary” at the weekend, signifying the two faces of hypocritical populist politicians.
The statue is located on private property, in the tiny settlement of Sela pri Kamniku, about 20 miles northeast of the capital city of Ljubljana. Its official inauguration is tomorrow, but it has already sparked some controversy among the fewer than 150 local residents. While some locals leant a hand in putting the sculpture together, others are angered by what they regard as an eyesore. One disgruntled villager has already tried to mow the sculpture down in his tractor.
“Our more traditional neighbors, country folk, claim it’s ugly and say it does not fit in this beautiful landscape,” Schlegl said. The owner of the land says, who gave the artist permission to leave the work in place for two months, that he was unaware of what exactly the artist had planned for the plot.
This is not the first Trump-related statue to appear in Slovenia in recent months. Schlegl says he made his sculpture as a response to one of Melania Trump that appeared in her hometown of Sevnica in May. The wooden folk art piece was commissioned by conceptual artist Brad Downey from a local sculptor, Alex Zupevc, and depicts the First Lady waving blithely on inauguration day. Schlegl’s more frightening sculpture, on the other hand, has adopted the clenched fist with which Trump closed out his inauguration speech.
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