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A Teen Said She's Learned A Lesson After Being Shamed For Posing With A Piece Of Art For Instagram

A lot of people on social media are using her photo as an example of "vapid influencer culture."

Posted on August 2, 2019, at 1:04 p.m. ET

An 18-year-old from Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, discovered she was the subject of social media posts and rants after she posted an Instagram of herself holding an art installment at a national art museum.

The teen, Qisya Mirza, told BuzzFeed News she meant no harm by it, and added that she now feels "a bit guilty."

"Honestly I had no intention on posting it on my Instagram at first, and I feel a bit guilty about it," she said.

Mirza posted a photo of herself earlier this week holding a piece of art, seemingly taken off the walls of an exhibit at the National Art Gallery in Kuala Lumpur. She said a friend had spotted her photo in critical tweets and sent them to her.

A lot of people on social media are using her photo (and other unidentified users posing with and touching piece of art) as an example of "vapid influencer culture."

"Please have some respect for the art," one user wrote.

Honestly, I blame this widespread behavior on vapid influencer culture. People think every art exhibition is an Instagramable moment, that every art installation is an interactive one. Please have some respect for the art.

"Anything for the grams. They’ll destroy everything for some likes," others commented.

"Keep ya nasty hands to yourself and appreciate art from a distance. Y’all have no idea how much it would pain an artist to see his/her work being ruined because your hands are itchy," one person wrote.

Mirza tried to get ahead of the narrative before it snowballed on social media. On Tuesday, she decided to respond to one of these tweets directly and attempted to clarify what had happened.

She tweeted that she "saw it laying on the ground. ... Honestly that wasn't my intention to take the pic of the wall. I just simply found it laying on the ground and [wanted] to put it back."

Mirza claimed to BuzzFeed News that there was a missing hook for the art piece on the wall when she found it on the ground and picked it up.

"Then my friends started taking pics of me without me noticing. Then after I realized they were taking pictures I just went along," she said, adding that she "had no intention on posting it on [her] Instagram" at first.

People online, however, are unconvinced.

@qisya12kissya @shufitri Yet, you posed and took picture to be put up on your IG? Hmmm...

And they have expressed that there was no excuse for this kind of treatment of art.

"Anyone who is apologising on 'mistakenly' touching all the artworks, I think you need to get your eyes checked. All these 'Do Not Touch' stickers are pasted all over the fucking wall in [the National Art Gallery]," someone else noted.

Really??? Here’s the tips for ya’ll who might be going to Balai Seni Negara or any gallery. DON’T TOUCH THE ARTWORK! Stand about 5 feet away from it, stare at it for 5-10 minutes (study the artwork), walk away. That’s all! Very-very easy and simple. Act wise not mice tibehh

Mirza said she understands the criticisms about respecting art and even agrees with them. She just doesn't think she was being disrespectful.

She added that she thinks Instagram culture can lead to people damaging art "to get 'IG-worthy pics.'"

"I find it a bit disrespectful because there might be a chance for the art to get ruined," she said.

A BuzzFeed News investigation, in partnership with the International Consortium of Investigative Journalists, based on thousands of documents the government didn't want you to see.