STA, 30 August 2019 - Sela, a tiny village some 20 kilometres north of Ljubljana, has become the unlikely focus of global headlines after some locals decided to erect a giant wooden Donald Trump statue there, but the publicity is proving too much to handle. The official launch, scheduled for Saturday, has been cancelled.
"There are so many people reacting and announcing their visit. We have not registered the event, it was meant as a local occasion. We cannot provide security for so many people," Boštjan Pivec, the president of the local sports and cultural association, told the STA.
The wooden effigy, some eight metres high, has been erected right next to the village's fire station and has been designed by the Kamnik architect Tom Schlegl.
Painted blue and with a signature Trump hairdo, the statue raises its right hand high, the pose a reference to the Statue of Liberty in New York, which used to greet immigrants when they arrived at Ellis Island.
In fact, the reference is quite deliberate. "Today America is being represented by someone who is against [immigration]. This makes the Statue of Liberty look like a farce," Schlegl told the STA.
The statue also has a mouth mechanism that gives it two faces. "When he talks his face changes and he starts turning into a vampire; there is a podium behind the external mouth. "People are increasingly horrified at speaking up, that is the sense I get," Schlegl says.
The statue has been erected just months after an artist commissioned a wooden statue of First Lady Melania Trump near her hometown of Sevnica, which drew amused glances as well as fierce criticism for looking like a badly drawn Smurfette.
Some of the locals seem to have a similarly grim view of the Trump statue, describing it as bizarre. "It is intended to look bizarre, as bizarre as Slovenian politics," according to the author.
The statue is built on private land and is unlikely to last long: the owner of the land has ordered that it be removed by Halloween.
One of the options being mentioned is burning it on Halloween, but Schlegl has other things in mind as well. He is considering donating it to Denmark so that it can rebuild it in Greenland.