SELA PRI KAMNIKU, Slovenia (Reuters) - A large wooden sculpture that strongly resembles Donald Trump was erected this week in Slovenia, home country of Trump's wife Melania, though its designer insists it is meant to represent a "statue of liberty", not the U.S. president.

Tom Schlegl's 8-metre (26 foot) statue in the village of Sela, north of the capital Ljubljana, depicts a man with blond hair and an angry expression, wearing a blue suit, white shirt and red tie. His right arm is raised with a clenched fist.

"I designed the statue because people have forgotten what the Statue of Liberty stands for. I want to alert people to the rise of populism and it would be difficult to find a bigger populist in this world than Donald Trump," Schlegl said.

Schlegl added that he did not mind that most people see his statue as representing Trump.

 

The 56-year-old architect said he had got the idea for the statue after a wooden sculpture of Melania was inaugurated near her hometown of Sevnica by U.S. artist Brad Downey less than two months ago.

The Sela statue, erected by volunteers, can only remain in its current location for two months and then a new home must be found for it, Schlegl said.

"It could be somewhere in Slovenia or abroad - even Greenland if there is interest there," joked Schlegl, referring to Trump's recent abortive bid to buy Greenland from Denmark.

(Reporting by Srdjan Zivulovic and Marja Novak; Editing by Gareth Jones)

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