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Drawing paints a different picture of the outdoors

Last month saw the launch of an exciting new 18-month visual art and nature project, linking children in two Gaelic-speaking schools in very different environments.

Tollcross Primary is in urban Edinburgh and has a Gaelic unit within an otherwise English-speaking school, and Bun Sgoil Shleite is on the rural Sleat peninsula of Skye, with all the teaching in Gaelic, apart from a small English department.

Led by a team of professional artists, children from the two schools will take part in an intensive programme of drawing and painting outside, investigating the environment and landscape, learning about natural history and exploring ways of seeing through the mediums of drawing and recording.

Pupils will use new technologies to exchange their drawings and experiences before the exchange visit, which is at the heart of the project. This week-long exchange, when the children will stay with host families or in hostel accommodation, will allow them to share their very different experiences of language, environment and culture, as well as drawing in a completely fresh environment.

The resulting artworks and animations will be exhibited at the Fruitmarket Gallery, Edinburgh and Sabhal Mor Ostaig, Scotland's Gaelic-speaking college on Skye. The Fruitmarket Gallery artists Julie Brook and Lasair Ealain and a committee of pupils from Bun Sgoil Shleite have developed the project, with funding from the Scottish Arts Council, Scottish Natural Heritage and Bord na Gaidhlig.

Other pupils across Scotland will be able to engage in the project by using new technologies, and will, it is hoped, be inspired to set up their own projects, exploring their environment through drawing while learning about Gaelic culture and language.

There will also be a series of workshops and events in Skye and Edinburgh to inspire as many people as possible to do likewise.

www.fruitmarket.co.uk.

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