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Designer defends Melania Trump statue: ‘People may laugh but the context still resonates’

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A wooden statue of first lady Melania Trump was the butt of some jokes after it popped up in her hometown in Slovenia last week, but the man behind the “slapstick formalism” piece is defending his choices.

Brad Downey, the designer who commissioned the artwork, weighed in during an interview with The Washington Post, saying it’s not meant to be a laughing matter. 

“People might laugh at the aesthetics of the monument, but the context plays a very important role,” Downey told the Post. “This is not the random positioning of a monument. People may laugh, but the context still resonates.”{mosads}

The life-sized wooden carving depicts Trump in the blue outfit she wore to her husband’s inauguration in 2017, raising her left hand as if to wave. 

Downey is a Kentucky-born conceptual artist known for his public pranks, but insisted in his interview with the Post that his Slovenia monument is not a joke. 

He says he sought an artist born in the same town and at the same time as the first lady, to comment on lives rooted in the same place diverging in different paths. 

The chosen artist was pipe layer and amateur chainsaw sculptor Alex “Maxi” Zupevc. Downey told the Post Zupevc and Trump were born in the same hospital, both in April 1970.

Downey also produced a short video about the project, available on YouTube. In it, Zupevc illustrates the differences Downey sought to highlight. 

“But let’s face it, she owns half of America, while I have nothing,” the sculptor says. 

The Slovenian artist said he’s not a fan of President Trump.

“I prefer her to him,” he said. 

The first lady was Zupevc’s first attempt at carving a life-sized statue, and he said he’s proud of his creation. 

“She might come and see the thing,” he said in the video. “She might like it.”

Tags Brad Downey Donald Trump Melania Trump Slovenia
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