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Anne Mikolay

Shall we discuss the elephant in the room at CPAC 2021, or in this case, the giant, shiny Trump statue? What the heck was that thing?? Was it a joke? Was it a carnival attraction, like a photo booth (have your photo taken with the golden statue before you watch the circus inside the Big Top!) or was it intended as a serious piece of art, an homage to the former President? Whatever it was, the golden statue speaks volumes.

esthetically, the 200 pound, life-size statue can only be described as kitschy. The artist, Tommy Zegan (from Mexico, ironically) infused his creation with in-your-face symbolism. Golden Trump is wearing a suit jacket representing Trump’s questionable status as a successful businessman, a red tie for the Republican party, and red, white, and blue shorts symbolizing Trump’s alleged patriotism. The statue’s sandals and magic wand, however, have me stumped. What are they supposed to mean? While Trump is somewhat of a magician who consistently makes his problems disappear, he is hardly a flip-flop kind of guy. Zegan’s creation comes off as a ridiculous caricature of Trump, but it is also a tangible, alarming manifestation of Trumpism. In Zegan’s golden Trump statue at CPAC, Donald Trump emerges as the Biblical golden calf, the worshipped idol of the people.

While the golden Trump statue is cartoonish, comical, it should not be dismissed as mere window dressing. We can scoff at the stupidity of it, but its meaning is no laughing matter. Golden Trump is a metaphoric red flag signalling the current controversial path of the Republican party. All Americans, regardless of political affiliation, should be concerned. Nothing good can come of elevating a politician, or anyone for that matter, to god-like status.

Of course, nobody is actually worshipping Mr. Zegan’s “likeness” of Donald Trump, but the inclusion of a bronze effigy of any one person at a political event goes against the grain. Yes, beauty is in the eye of the beholder, and art is subjective, but take a step back and look, really look at this golden monstrosity. Take it all in. Allow this work of art to speak to you. You might not like what it’s saying.

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