'I felt like I was being prostituted': Singapore model accuses Russian artist of painting her nude and selling artwork

Duan Mei Yue and the painting done by Russian artist Angelina Poveteva.
PHOTO: Twitter/dmeiyue, Screengrab/Pinterest

Singaporean artist and model Duan Mei Yue has taken to social media to call out Russian artist Angelina Poveteva for allegedly using her image as the basis for a nude painting without consent.

And that painting was reportedly sold for $27,000.

Duan, 22, tweeted on Tuesday (April 5) about "how vulgar it is for a nude painting of me to be exhibited and sold without consent".

In the dispute, the model said she found out about the artwork in 2021 after being tagged in the comments section of the latter's TikTok video.

Duan, who has walked for the likes of Dior and Paris Fashion Week, said she contacted Poveteva after she learnt that the painting was exhibited and sold for $27,000.

But the artist denied using Duan's photographs or selling the artwork.

Screengrabs of the conversation between Duan and Poveteva on April 1, 2022. The picture sent by the latter was allegedly photoshopped.
PHOTO: Duan Mei Yue

Poveteva sent her a few photos of another model claiming that she used those as reference for her artwork. Duan, however, claimed that the features of the model were photoshopped to look like the woman in the painting.

The artist then seemingly disappeared from most of her social media platforms. 

'I felt like I was being prostituted'

In an interview with AsiaOne on Wednesday, Duan said that she can no longer look at paintings and art without feeling disgust and fear.

"As dramatic as it sounds, I actually felt like the world crashed down on me," she added. "To see myself depicted naked, exhibited and sold off, I felt like I was being prostituted." 

This is not the first time an artist had used her likeness in an artwork without her consent.

Duan Mei Yue photographed by Li Wanjie and Allison M. Low’s artwork displayed at Love, Bonito outlet in Funan. 
PHOTO: Twitter/dmeiyue, Instagram/allisonmlow

Last March, she was involved in a copyright dispute with Singaporean artist Allison M. Low over art pieces displayed at the opening of a Love, Bonito store in Funan.

"Before [this], I was more upset in terms of how my ambitions of being a model were being exploited. This time, I feel so personally violated," Duan said.

She also told AsiaOne that she is considering taking legal action against the Russian artist but she has been told that it'll be difficult to enforce. 

Her tweet about Poveteva's painting has since been retweeted over 23,300 times and received 53,600 likes, gaining support from people worldwide as well as sparking discussions about ethics and legal rights in the art industry. 

Local musician Benjamin Kheng showing his support for Duan on Instagram. 
PHOTO: Screengrab/Instagram/Benjaminkheng


PHOTO: Screengrab/Twitter

Duan said she wants compensation and apologies from Poveteva and her art school, and also hopes that "a law can be put in place to protect everyone from artists like them".

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