The 26-foot Statue of Liberty-style work mocking the U.S. president by architect and artist Tomaz Schlegl is shown engulfed in flames in various photos and videos. There were no immediate arrests.
Moravce Mayor Milan Balazic described the arson as a “symbol of intolerance toward artistic projects in our society,” reported The Associated Press.
Schlegl unveiled his sculpture in the village of Sela pri Kamniku in August. He described the work as a swipe at the populist politics of some world leaders, including Trump.
“For the first time since World War II populism is prevailing: look at [British Prime Minister Boris] Johnson, look at Trump, our president or [Hungary’s Prime Minister Viktor] Orban. Where is this world heading?” Schlegl told Agence France-Presse at the time.
The artist earlier floated the idea of burning the piece on Halloween.
“I believe these attacks are understandable bearing in mind what’s happening in the world,” Schlegl told AFP on Thursday.
He did not immediately reply to HuffPost’s request for comment on the arson.
The artwork attracted tourists and divided opinion.
A farmer attempted to drive a tractor into the piece. Previous arsonists unsuccessfully tried to burn it down, reported Slovenia’s national broadcaster RTV Slovenija. Someone also defaced it with an Adolf Hitler-esque mustache.
The statue was moved in December to the nearby village of Moravce, in a bid to boost visitors to the area, where it was set alight early Thursday.
Local broadcasters shared video on YouTube of it burning:
Here’s what it looked like before:
Sculptor Ales “Maxi” Zupevc’s chainsaw-sculpted wooden statue of the first lady near Sevnica remains unharmed:
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