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2006 art competition

Budding artists are invited to enter The National Galleries of Scotland Schools Art Competition 2006. There are five categories for different age groups, each with its own theme: l Nursery - Fantastic creatures; l P1-3 - My special day; l P4-7 - Sports, hobbies and interests; l S1-2 - Who am I?;

* Special schools - Line, shape and landscape.

Children have to engage with two or three paintings on the National Galleries' website and look at how they work. For example, S1 and S2 pupils are directed to a self-portrait by John Byrne (1977), Joan Eardley's "Street Kids" (1949-51) and Van Dyck's "Lomellini family"

(1626-27) and asked to consider how they might want to present themselves in terms of appearance, interests, friends and family. Winning entries will be displayed in the Clore Education Centre at the National Gallery in Edinburgh. The winners will receive a prize of art materials, while their school art departments win a digital camera, free worksop and gallery visit.

First launched in 2004, the competition has been hugely successful: the first year saw 1,200 entries; the second year it rose to 3,400.

The winner of last year's S1-2 category on Still Life was Sean Tollan of Springburn Academy, Glasgow (see his picture, above).

Speaking at the award ceremony in June, the culture minister, Patricia Ferguson, said: "The popularity of this competition and the quality of work on display demonstrates that Scotland's young people have great passion and a real talent for art - passion and talent that is being nurtured to ensure a bright and creative future for Scotland."

The closing date for this year's entries is May 5. Winners will be announced on June 2. Full details can be found on the National Galleries'

website: www.nationalgalleries.org

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