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'The Donald' is a muse for Trump-loving Albanian painter

Avni Delvina says the work is his response to international media's broadly negative reaction to the Republican president's unorthodox approach to politics.

Albanian artist Avni Delvina poses for a photo in front of his paintings during the exhibition 'The Donald' in Tirana on February 21, 2019. Donald Trump as Rambo or as Jesus crucified: a painter dedicated fifty paintings to the American president, his "idol", which are on display in the Albanian capital. Picture: AFP.

TIRANA, Albania - Wielding a weapon made of dollar bills, tackling Barack Obama, challenging George Soros to an arm wrestle -- Donald Trump is the hero of a Tirana art show by an Albanian painter who considers the US president an "idol".

The 61-year-old artist, Avni Delvina, says the work is his response to international media's broadly negative reaction to the Republican president's unorthodox approach to politics.

"It is the product of two years of work from my strong anger about the reactionary attack on Trump," Delvina told AFP, describing the former reality TV star and real estate tycoon as a "free spirit".

The art exhibit in Tirana, titled "The Donald", showcases nearly 50 Trump-inspired paintings, including one with First Lady Melania sitting in for Mona Lisa.

When asked to explain his adulation of Trump, Delvina cites a George Orwell quote: "In a time of deceit telling the truth is a revolutionary act."

Although the US president is routinely accused of flubbing the facts, the artist sees him as a brave warrior in a fight against "fake news" -- a label Trump likes to use against critical media.

There is a strong pro-US sentiment in much of Albania, where American flags are a common sight.
After Trump's shock electoral victory in 2016, a town in central Albania renamed a boulevard in his honour.

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