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Topless Thai painter on talent show stirs debate

Associated Press Modified: June 18, 2012 at 6:45 am •  Published: June 18, 2012

BANGKOK (AP) — An episode of "Thailand's Got Talent" has stirred a morality debate after a contestant painted a canvas using her bare breasts, drawing a rebuke from the culture minister who called it "very shocking."

Culture Minister Sukumol Kunplome said Monday that nudity on television is not considered appropriate in Thai society. She said the show's producers have been summoned to explain why the segment was broadcast and the ministry will then decide whether to take action.

"This program is intended to showcase the talent of Thai people and it usually encourages youths to show their special skills," the minister told reporters. "Still, there have to be some limits."

The show, broadcast Sunday on Thailand's Channel 3, featured 23-year-old Duangjai Jansaunoi, who walked onstage barefoot in jeans and a baggy men's button-down shirt. She introduced herself as an independent artist from northern Thailand.

She then turned to a large canvas and painted a yellow outline of a person. She then removed her shirt, unhooked a black bra and doused herself with several tins of paint before turning to the audience with a broad smile to display her multicolored torso. The area around her breasts was blurred out by censors.

As dance music played, the contestant used her body as a paintbrush to fill in the outline.

Some in the audience gasped with hands over their mouths, while others cheered her on.

"If I paint in a normal way, then it would be too ordinary," Duangjai told the judges after being handed a towel to cover up.

The judges then debated whether her act could be considered art.

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