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Singaporean model says she is ‘shattered’ after artist allegedly uses her likeness in nude painting

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Singaporean model and artist Duan Mei Yue has accused Russian artist Angelina Poveteva of stealing her image and using it as reference for a nude painting that sold for $10,000.

Duan took to Instagram and TikTok to point out how Poveteva’s painting, titled ‘It’s Time to Open Your Eyes’, resembles a photo taken of her when she was 18.

“She put it up for sale for $10,000. Not only that, she also set it up for an exhibition where hundreds of people posed and took pictures with it like I was some kind of oriental freak show,” Duan said in his TikTok video.

She also shared her Instagram conversation with the Russian artist, who claimed her painting was based on another model. According to Duan, the reference photos Poveteva sent him were photoshopped.

Duan also explained that Poveteva lied about not selling any paintings, noting in particular that a Russian architect buyer had already exhibited the painting.

When Duan contacted the art school where the exhibit was being held, she described their response as “super dismissive of the situation.”

“I was 18 in this photo. Seeing my 18-year-old self being painted naked and then parading around like that without my consent upset me,” Duan said. “I want to sue her.”

However, Duan struggles to execute a lawsuit due to complex Russian copyright laws.

the videowhich TikTok deleted, citing “nudity”, was later uploaded to Twitter by Duan on April 4.

In a separate space declaration posted on Duan’s Instagram account, it addresses the artist, saying, “You didn’t create this. The reason you were even able to hold your exhibits, sell your prints, reproduce tote bags, pendants, your book cover deals, or even START your career was because of this photo. I won’t stay silent if anyone tries again. And whatever happens to your ‘career’ afterward is really your fault.”

“I almost just want to fade away and disappear forever, but I will stay strong,” she added.

Last year, Duan also participated in a copyright dispute with Singaporean artist Allison M. Low for use of the same image.

Low’s artwork, inspired by Duan’s likeness, was displayed in the “Creative Unions” exhibit for the opening of Asian fashion retailer Love Bonito in January 2021. The model highlighted the “unethical referencing” of the artist in a Instagram postwhich led to the artwork being removed from the exhibit in February.

“The artist admitted that the parties involved were unaware that the artist had not obtained model release prior to performing any of these projects,” the statement read. “The artist continued to use the model’s likeness in future projects without the model’s permission and knowledge. The model was not tagged in any of her posts which showed her selling and reproducing art for display and distribute.

In the post’s caption, Duan wrote that she doesn’t have the funds to take legal action and doesn’t want to incite hatred towards the artist. However, she wanted to “educate other artists not to commodify a person’s face without their consent. It is violent and exploitative.

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