Singaporean artist and model Mei Yue has accused Russian artist Angelina Poveteva of using a photograph taken of Yue by photographer Wanjie Li as the basis for her award-winning nude painting “Time to open your eyes,” all without permission, credit, or any kind of compensation.
Yue posted a TikTok about the artwork on Monday, which they reposted to Twitter. The tweet now has more than 21,000 retweets and 49,000 likes.
Yue and Li have had trouble with illegal use of that particular photograph before, finding Yue’s face splashed all over everything from tote bags to pendants with neither permission nor compensation. But it’s the fact that Poveteva’s painting is of a nude figure with what Yue claims is her face that makes this particular instance so painful for the model. Speaking in the TikTok, which the platform briefly suspended for “nudity” but has since restored, Yue described how she had only just turned 18 when that photograph was taken, and how seeing her 18-year-old body “paraded around like that, without [my] consent” left her feeling “shattered.” In a recent Instagram post, Yue spoke further about their experience, writing: “I feel worthless. I feel used.”
Yue’s TikTok also documented through text messages how both Poveteva and the Artlife Moscow festival apparently denied that Yue’s image had been used as the basis for the painting, claiming a different model had been used.
However, according to Yue, the photographs Poveteva sent her of the other model as proof had been photoshopped, something she explains in her TikTok both by showing the tells in the photoshopped image and placing it side-by-side with another photograph the other model sent her for comparison.
The screenshots also allegedly show that Poveteva claimed she would not be selling the painting, however, two copies have apparently already been sold for upwards of $10,000, according to Yue.
Poveteva appears to have removed her web presence, but without making any admission of guilt. Meanwhile, Yue has chosen to paint her own self-portrait based on the original photograph, releasing a statement via her Instagram in which she explains that her painting is an attempt to reclaim herself and her image, and exhorting people to stop using her face without her consent.
Though Poveteva could not be reached, the Daily Dot has reached out to Artlife Moscow and Wanjie Li for comment.