Singaporean model and artist Duan Mei Yue accused Russian artist Angelina Poveteva of stealing her image and using it as the reference for a nude painting that sold for $10,000.
Duan took to Instagram and TikTok to point out the likeness of Poveteva’s painting, titled “Time to Open Your Eyes,” to a photograph taken of her when she was 18-years-old.
“She put it on sale for $10,000. Not only that, she has also put it up for exhibition where hundreds of people have posed and taken pictures with it like I am some kind of Oriental freak show,” Duan said in her TikTok video.
She also shared her Instagram conversation with the Russian artist, who claimed that her painting was based on another model. According to Duan, the reference photos Poveteva sent her were Photoshopped.
Duan also went on to explain that Poveteva lied about not having sold any paintings, specifically noting that a Russian architect buyer already had the painting displayed.
When Duan contacted the art school where the exhibition was held, she described their response as “super dismissive of the situation.”
“I was 18 in that photo. To see my 18-year-old self being painted naked and then paraded around like that without my consent shattered me,” Duan said. “I want to sue her.”
Duan is having trouble executing a lawsuit, however, due to Russia’s complicated copyright laws.
The video, which TikTok has removed, citing “nudity,” was later uploaded to Twitter by Duan on April 4.
In a separate statement posted to Duan’s Instagram account, she addresses the artist, saying: “You did not create this. The reason you were even able to hold your exhibitions, sell your prints, reproduce tote bags, pendants, your book cover deals, or even START your career was because of that photo. I will not stay silent if anyone tries this again. And whatever happens to that ‘career’ of yours afterwards is really your own fault.”
“I almost just wanna delete myself and disappear forever, but I’ll stay strong,” she added.
Last year, Duan was also involved in a copyright dispute with Singaporean artist Allison M. Low for the use of the same image.
Low’s art pieces, which were inspired by Duan’s likeness, were displayed in the “Creative Unions” exhibition for the opening of a Asian fashion retailer Love Bonito in January 2021. The model highlighted the artist’s “unethical referencing” in an Instagram post, which led to the art piece’s removal from the exhibition in February.
“The artist has admitted that parties involved were unaware that the artist did not get the model’s permission before executing any of these projects,” the statement read. “The artist continued using the model’s likeness in future projects without the model’s permission and knowledge. The model was not tagged in any of her posts that showed her selling and reproducing the art to be exhibited and distributed.”
In the post’s caption, Duan wrote that she did not have the funds to take legal action and that she did not want to instigate hatred towards the artist. However, she wished to “educate other artists to not commodify a person’s face without their consent. It is violating and exploitative.”