Staff Reporter

NEW DELHI: Children have an inherent desire to express themselves in any way they can and many choose to voice their thoughts and feelings through art.

Recognising this, innumerable art and painting competitions have been organised to give these children a platform to express themselves.

The Indian Council for Child Welfare (ICCW) organised a "National Painting Competition-2005'' across the country to give budding artists an opportunity to be recognised.

The competition was conducted at the State level by the 32 Councils of ICCW spread across the country. Entries were accepted under three age-group categories for normal children (5-8 years, 9-12 years and 13-16 years) and two categories for differently abled children (5-10 years and 11-18 years).

A total of 393 State level prize-winning entries were then sent for the final competition conducted at ICCW headquarters here in the Capital.

An eminent panel of judges that comprised Madhu Pant of National Bal Bhawan, Sudhakar Sharma of Lalit Kala Akademi, Amargeet Chandok of the College of Art and National Gallery of Modern Art's Satyender Gupta selected and adjudged 25 entries as winners of the "National Painting Competition-2005'' here on Wednesday.

The works of the child artists covered an array of themes. Among the differently abled children, the first prize winners were Shaloo from Uttaranchal (5-10 years) with her painting on the theme "Flowers and Trees'', while Dipayan Debnath of Tripura (11-18 years) painted "My Favourite Festival''. The first prizes in categories for other children were won by Viraj Velburgi of Karnataka (5-8 years) who painted on the topic "My Sister'', Riya Das of West Bengal (9-12 years) painting her visions of "Spring'', and Suvonil Saha, also of West Bengal (13-16 years) with his portrayal of "Natural Disaster''.

Some of the other themes covered by the prize-winners included "My Mother'', "The Seashore'' and "Sunrise''.

All awardees received a silver medal and a certificate of recognition along with a cash prize. The ICCW will also be giving financial assistance to eligible winners by sponsoring their schooling up to Class XII. The award-winning paintings will be used as designs for greeting cards and in child development-related literature produced by ICCW. The Council plans to organise a child art exhibition in collaboration with distinguished artists and academicians.