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Source: Instagram account of Duan Mei Yue and Angelina Poveteva
Source: Instagram account of Duan Mei Yue and Angelina Poveteva

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Rip-off or not: Singaporean model accused Russian artist of using the likeness of her face on a topless body and exhibiting it for sale

Singaporean model Duan Mei Yue has accused Russian artist Angelina Poveteva of painting the likeness of her face on a topless body, and then exhibiting the painting at a Moscow art fair and selling it without her consent.

Duan published a two-minute video on social media to raise her concern along with the supporting evidence. She claimed that Poveteva had sold the painting to two buyers for US$10,000 each. Duan was made aware of the rip-off after people tagged her on the social media websites.

Duan, 22, says she was 18 years old in that photo and seeing herself painted naked and exhibited in front of hundreds of people felt like she was being prostituted. She describes her experience as “dehumanizing” and “traumatizing.”

Duan asked Poveteva to stop displaying and selling the paintings. Poveteva agreed to the request, but she maintained her innocence by sharing a photo of another girl which had inspired her. She also said that the similarity to Duan is purely a coincidence and believes she may have come across Duan’s photo while browsing Pinterest.

However, Duan believes that the photo that Poveteva shared with her was photoshopped. She also maintains that the artist lied about not having sold the painting and did not disclose the fact that her painting being turned into non-fungible tokens (NFTs).

Duan wants to sue Poveteva, but it’s nearly impossible in the current environment after Russia passed a law that made copyright theft legal from unfriendly countries.

With no other option left, she started spreading awareness about her rip-off story and has urged people to share her story.

This is not Duan's first such encounter. She was involved in a similar situation with a local artist last year. Duan sued Singaporean artist Allison Low for using her photo in drawings that were transferred and sold as pendants, tote bags, in an in-store installation and as cover art for a book.

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Mark Laudi

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