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Life-size image on the outskirts of Sevnica, the US first ladys home town, was carved into a tree using a chainsaw

After Melania cake, Melania honey and even Melania slippers, the Slovenian home town of the US first lady will now boast a statue of its most famous daughter albeit one that has faced decidedly mixed reviews.

The life-size statue on the outskirts of Sevnica was inaugurated on Friday and is the brainchild of the 39-year-old American conceptual artist Brad Downey, who says its the first monument anywhere dedicated to the wife of Donald Trump.

The sculpture was carved into a tree using a chainsaw and depicts Melania Trump in a blue dress and raising her left hand in a waving gesture, emulating a pose she struck at her husbands 2017 inauguration.

People gather around a statue of Melania Trump on the outskirts of Sevnica, on 5 July. Photograph: Jure Makovec/AFP/Getty Images

Its somewhat naive style has led some critics on social media to brand it a scarecrow.

I can understand why people might think that this falls short as a description of her physical appearance, Downey told AFP, but insisted that he found the end result absolutely beautiful.

Since Donald Trump took office in 2017, sleepy Sevnica has become a magnet for tourists and journalists searching for insights into the American first ladys past.

Entrepreneurial locals have been cashing in on the influx, offering a bewildering array of Melania Trump-branded food and merchandise as well as a tour of the area taking in the key sites of her early years.

Read more: https://www.theguardian.com/us-news/2019/jul/05/melania-trump-statue-slovenia-sevnica