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By Carol Tombers



Shamanic Series 1, Egg tempera with earth pigments on Arches Rag 400 lb. paper, 23″x30″, painting © 2008 by Carol Tombers. All rights reserved.



It is my desire for color that calls me to the studio. Essentially, color is a vibration and its energy is stored in the mineral pigment. I am drawn to put those different vibrations next to each other and listen to how they speak to one another. And I am curious to bring together colors that are rich beyond daily visual experience.

Painting is like a meditation for me. It almost always produces a calm and alert state of mind, and puts me in touch with a universal sense of well being. It hasn’t always been like this. For many years the primary test was a struggle with what subject matter to depict.

Now I try to include all of the subject matter that interests me at once, and the challenge becomes how to represent it in a way that might be meaningful to the viewer. The image, then, is closer to how I experience the world and this gives me a sense of satisfaction.



Shamanic Series 4, Egg tempera with earth pigments on Arches Rag 400 lb. paper, 23″x30″, painting © 2008 by Carol Tombers. All rights reserved.



Five years ago I began to take classes in Medieval egg tempera painting from a master icon painter in the Russian Orthodox tradition. The theology underlying the images engages me in a mythological way rather than a spiritual way. My own studio painting changed as I began to understand that every aspect of the painted icon is reflective of a particular concept of the theological tradition. No brush stroke is made, nor color mixed, that it not significant to the theology.

For example, when an icon is gilded, the artist first applies bole, a mixture of red clay and glue, to the prepared surface. The bole (essentially dirt) symbolizes the most base aspects of human nature. The bole is polished to a mirror-like smoothness, a symbol of the spiritual work of the human. Next, the icon maker breathes a deep breath onto the bole to make it tacky before laying on the 24K gold leaf, a symbol of divine perfection. The idea of these materials symbolizing a spiritual process inspired me to put my personal mythology into my work.

About this same time I began to study shamanism, first in the tradition of the Mapuche people of Chile, and later in a more general way. It is through shamanic “journeys” and other meditation practices that I come to the imagery of my paintings.



Shamanic Series 3, Egg tempera with earth pigments on Arches Rag 400 lb. paper, 23″x30″, painting © 2008 by Carol Tombers. All rights reserved.



The paint I use is made from “earth pigments.” These minerals and plants are ground and mixed with egg yolk, water, and a drop of vinegar to preserve it. The beauty of egg tempera is that it is translucent and that light passes through the paint and bounces off of the white ground, giving an effect of a painting that is illuminated from within.

The pigment can be laid down on the painting in a pool of water so that the different mineral colors fall to the surface of the painting in patterns similar to the bottom of a dry riverbed. Up close a tension can be seen between the various pigments; but stepping back your eye blends the color together to see it unified. So there is an exciting variation in the appearance of the materials, depending on proximity.



Shamanic Series 5, Egg tempera with earth pigments on Arches Rag 400 lb. paper, 23″x30″, painting © 2008 by Carol Tombers. All rights reserved.



To support my studio work, I make color studies, practice brush strokes, and collect color combinations. I paint about six hours at a time, two or three times a week. I look at other paintings. I keep painting. I learn about what other creative people think about. I keep a journal of color combinations and their recipes, lists of books to read, and images to track down on the web. I don’t often listen to music while I paint because I want the right hemisphere of my brain available for painting. But I do listen to audio books and pod casts while I work.

I was listening to a dialogue between Leonard Cohen and Philip Glass from the Aurora Forum at Stanford University. Leonard Cohen said you (artists) have to keep going because it isn’t until near the end of the work that the brilliance of it comes out. So I urge my strategic mind to fixate on color combinations and other art elements and principles, rather than the evaluation of my work in a realm beyond my control. This allows me to keep going.



Shamanic Series 2, Egg tempera with earth pigments on Arches Rag 400 lb. paper, 23″x30″, painting © 2008 by Carol Tombers. All rights reserved.



About Carol:  Carol Tombers was born and raised in Minnesota. She began her artistic career at the age of eight by painting a picture of the garage on plywood with house paint. Later she earned a BFA from Minneapolis College of Art and Design and an MA from the University of St. Thomas. She is especially delighted by travel, and has done visual research most recently in Barcelona and Bogotá.

Carol has taught visual art for ten years at The Blake School and will begin a seven-month sabbatical in January 2009. During that time she will be studying historical color systems and painting in Mexico and Colombia. Her work has been shown in Hong Kong, Tokyo, Taipei, Seoul, and Ohio.



To learn more about the Russian-Byzantine Tradition of Icon Painting visit The Prosopon School of Iconology. To learn more about shamanic healing in the Mapuche tradition visit Luzclara — Chilean Medicine Woman.

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By Gail Wallinga


Gossamer, 36″x 24″, acrylic, oil, tissue paper, & bristles on stretched canvas, painting © 2007 by Gail Wallinga. All rights reserved.

Gossamer, 36″x 24″, acrylic, oil, tissue paper, & bristles on stretched canvas, painting © 2007 by Gail Wallinga. All rights reserved.



Breathless, 36″x 24″, acrylic & oil on stretched canvas, painting © 2007 by Gail Wallinga. All rights reserved.

Breathless, 36″x 24″, acrylic & oil on stretched canvas, painting © 2007 by Gail Wallinga. All rights reserved.



Second Skin, 36″x 24″, acrylic, oil, & tissue paper on stretched canvas, painting © 2007 by Gail Wallinga. All rights reserved.

Second Skin, 36″x 24″, acrylic, oil, & tissue paper on stretched canvas, painting © 2007 by Gail Wallinga. All rights reserved.



I paint to bring visual form to emotions, interactions, and psychological states that I experience in life. For the past 3 years, I’ve been working on a series that is loosely about the theme of connection. How do we connect or not connect with ourselves or others? What is going on at the point of intersection. Or in the space behind the connection.


Here & There, 36″x 24″, acrylic & oil on stretched canvas, painting © 2007 by Gail Wallinga. All rights reserved.
Here & There, 36″x 24″, acrylic & oil on stretched canvas, painting © 2007 by Gail Wallinga. All rights reserved.



Where We Meet, 36″x 24″, acrylic & oil on stretched canvas, painting © 2007 by Gail Wallinga. All rights reserved.

Where We Meet, 36″x 24″, acrylic & oil on stretched canvas, painting © 2007 by Gail Wallinga. All rights reserved.



Sometimes I have a specific feeling or situation in mind when I start a painting. Other times, I start by spontaneously reacting to the materials that I’m exploring. But either way, the finished painting tells a story or represents a voice in the bigger picture of my theme.

My training as a graphic designer has taught me about color, composition and trusting my decisions. When I paint, I bring all of those skills to the table. I plug into the creative stream where the designer meets the artist to create something that pleases me visually and contextually.


Gypsy, 36″x 24″, acrylic & oil on stretched canvas, painting © 2007 by Gail Wallinga. All rights reserved.

Gypsy, 36″x 24″, acrylic & oil on stretched canvas, painting © 2007 by Gail Wallinga. All rights reserved.



Approach, 36″x 24″, oil on stretched canvas, painting © 2007 by Gail Wallinga. All rights reserved.

Approach, 36″x 24″, oil on stretched canvas, painting © 2007 by Gail Wallinga. All rights reserved.



I paint once a week for at least 4 hours. Sometimes I’m able to paint twice a week. But I’m often thinking about and working on my paintings while I’m not in the studio. The creative process is fed by my experience as a designer, and is constantly going on in the background of my consciousness.


About Gail:  Gail has been a graphic designer for almost 20 years, and principle of her own business, Wallinga Design, for 14 years. She designed the logotype for red Ravine and is the graphic designer of choice for our various mastheads. Besides her painting and design, Gail has passion for contemporary furniture design, photography, acoustic folk/pop music, and Godiva chocolate.

If you’d like to view Gail’s work in person, she will be participating in the Annual Autumn Show of The Rain Collective, a Minneapolis based confluence of artists. The show is taking place this Saturday, November 3rd, 2007, from 4:00 pm to 8:00 pm in the Casket Arts Building, 681 17th Avenue NE, located in the infamous Nordeast Minneapolis.

For contact information, Artist Statement, and to view more of Gail’s work, see her Rain Collective profile.

              Postcard for The Rain Collective, Annual Autumn Show, 8.5″x 5.25″, designed by Gail Wallinga, photographs Ryc Casati, postcard © 2007 by Wallinga Design. All rights reserved.

Postcard for The Rain Collective, Annual Autumn Show, 8.5″x 5.25″, designed by Gail Wallinga, photographs Ryc Casati, postcard © 2007 by Wallinga Design. All rights reserved.


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By Sharon Sperry Bloom


under your voodoo
Under Your Voodoo, 27″x 22.5″acrylic on stretched canvas, painting © 2007 by Sharon Sperry Bloom. All rights reserved.


            vloop
            Vloop, 18″x 24″acrylic on stretched canvas, painting © 2007
            by Sharon Sperry Bloom. All rights reserved.



untitled
Untitled, 20″x 16″acrylic on stretched canvas, painting © 2007 by Sharon Sperry Bloom. All rights reserved.


            War
            War, 18″x 24″acrylic on stretched canvas, painting © 2007
            by Sharon Sperry Bloom. All rights reserved.


          
          “Love & Happiness,” 18″x 24″acrylic on stretched canvas, painting 
          © 2007 by Sharon Sperry Bloom. All rights reserved.


Making Art, An Essay by Sharon Sperry Bloom

When I was a young child, I took ballet. Not to the level of standing on point, but there were recitals at the elementary school multi-purpose room and my mom sewed costumes with fluffy tutus and glued sequins on ballet slippers. I never got to be in the front row of my group. It wasn’t because of poor technique; I could plié like nobody’s business. I just couldn’t remember the sequence of steps. I was a follower in ballet – a back row ballerina.

One recital we all had itchy gold costumes with red-trimmed tutus and red plastic flowers in our hair. The music was vaguely Spanish. During recital, those flowers flew right off my head. After our dance, the instructor and my parents were beaming at me. Me! From the back row! They were full of praise because I ignored the errant flowers and kept my chin high as I continued my performance. Truth is, I never noticed the flying blooms.

The ballet lessons ended when my dad was laid off from his job with General Motors. Dad worked as a technical writer, and I can remember him changing jobs every few years. Sometimes he wrote owner’s manuals for cars; other times he wrote specifications for army tanks. Once he had a big glass-walled office in a tall building, and my brother and I got to visit him there and watch cars and trucks go around on the freeway interchange below.

Mom told me years later she worried I would be upset about not being able to continue with ballet lessons. Truth is, I never noticed.

These were the days before we had soccer. I was always doing something though. There were swimming lessons, from Guppies and Minnows all the way on to synchronized swimming. Brownies and Juniors and Girl Scouts. Piano lessons all the way through Grade 4, the Brown Book. And finally, art.

In middle school, someone told my folks about a woman a couple of miles away teaching young teens drawing and painting in her basement. Mrs. Marinello had about 6 of us at her home after supper on Tuesday nights. We drew and painted, and each of us worked at our own speed. She supplied all the paper and paints and props.

This lady was a beautiful, talented artist whose work hung in big museums and private collections and she loved sharing her time with kids. She painted intricate hunt scenes showing dozens of people on horseback with black-and-white dogs in lush woods. The paintings were gorgeous and huge. She always hid the fox in the foliage.

I painted a little in high school but never really got along with the art teacher there. I should have had art classes in architecture school, yet weaseled out of them by showing my portfolio to my advisor. My last paintings were on the walls of my parents’ basement where I later set up a studio while in architecture school. They were mainly doodles, some nudes, a Buddha, the logo from Woodstock, and one giant copy of the album cover “Quadrophenia,” which I did all in Payne’s Gray (more a deep blue/black color than gray).

I satisfied my artistic side in other ways over the years. But I never threw away my paints. Early this year I got them out again and started painting. I could not believe how great it felt. At first it was awkward, but talking about it with other artists helped me work through the weirdness.

I am trying to lose some of the perfectionism of my architecture career and embrace more serendipity in my work; hence, most of my work is abstract. That is not to say it is random paint on canvas. It’s just that rather than create something dependent on outside constructs and limits, I let the design come from the painting itself.

It’s a technique a good friend and talented artist taught me: step back and see what the painting has to say, then elaborate on it. I’m starting to get it. And I really enjoy it.



Come to my show!About Sharon:  In the ten months that Sharon has rediscovered painting, she produced 22 paintings — while holding down a full-time job! You can see all of her paintings on her Flickr account, bloomgal.

Sharon will join other artists at the Black Market Goods art show in Albuquerque on October 20. Black Market Goods is organized by Josh Jones, whose motto is “Bad ass art for bad ass people.”

These are dynamic, emerging artists whose work will tantalize and inspire. If you live in Albuquerque, get yourself to the show. Support art and artists in this city.

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Diebenkorn Leaves Taos, Taos, New Mexico, July 2007, photo © 2007 by QuoinMonkey. All rights reserved.

Diebenkorn In New Mexico, Taos Mountain in the background, Taos, New Mexico, July 2007, photo © 2007 by QuoinMonkey. All rights reserved.


When I was in Taos in July, we carpooled over to the Harwood Museum of Art to see Diebenkorn In New Mexico. When I was looking through my Taos photos last night, I realized I had wanted to do a post on Richard Diebenkorn after I got back. Time has rolled on without me.

The exhibit is moving to the San Jose Museum of Art and will open there Sunday, October 14th, 2007. If you are in the area, it’s worth checking out this period of Diebenkorn’s life (1950 – 1952).

 Natalie's Favorite, Diebenkorn In New Mexico, July 2007, Taos, New Mexico, photo by QuoinMonkey, all rights reserved.       One Of My Faves, Diebenkorn in New Mexico, July 2007, Taos, New Mexico, photo by QuoinMonkey, all rights reserved.

Playing Favorites, Diebenkorn In New Mexico Exhibit, Harwood Museum, Taos, New Mexico, July 2007, photos by QuoinMonkey, all rights reserved.


It was in 1950 that Diebenkorn enrolled in the Masters of Fine Arts program at the University of New Mexico, leaving behind a teaching position at the California School of Fine Arts (now known as the San Francisco Arts Institute). It had been at the California School of Fine Arts that Diebenkorn crossed paths with artist, David Park, who became his mentor and friend.

Natalie wrote about Diebenkorn in her book about painting, Living Color: A Writer Paints Her World. (It’s one of my favorites. Read Chapter 1, How I Paint at this link.) So she was thrilled to take the class of 50+ students to the Harwood to see his work. In preparation for the visit, she told stories about her chance meeting with Helen Park Bigelow and a series of strange twists and turns that led her to learn that Helen was David Park’s daughter.


Though I missed Helen’s August lecture at the Harwood last summer, her introduction explains:

After the Diebenkorns returned to the Bay Area from New Mexico, they and my parents became best friends. I was married and living nearby, and it was during those years, the fifties, that my three children were born. I was in and out of my parent’s house, where I saw Dick and Phyllis often, and got to know them and love them and also got to know and love Dick’s works. Through my father, Dick and the third player in that important friendship, the painter Elmer Bischof, those years gave us what became known as Bay Figurative Painting, and the emergence into national recognition of David, Dick and Elmer. As I observed the three young painters, Dick and Elmer in their thirties and David in his forties, their passion for work left deep impressions. For my Harwood Talk I will share stories and insights from those years, with a focus on the friendship, competition and recognition the three painters shared.

The last few times I have visited museums with Natalie’s classes, she has had each person slow walk around the exhibit and view the work (it was O’Keeffe last December in Santa Fe). When she rings the bell, we stop – and choose our favorite painting, the one we would love to take home, by standing directly in front of it. Then we describe what we like about the piece.

It’s another form of practice that Natalie teaches, to slow down and take in each piece of art in silence. I call it museum walking. Other people viewing the exhibit usually join in with the class. It’s a great exercise in seeing.

And, for me, I find that the painting I like the most is not necessarily the same painting I could stand to live with for the rest of my life! There are many things to consider when choosing art for one’s walls.


Harwood Museum Of Art, Taos, NM, photo by QuoinMonkey, all rights reserved.Diebenkorn In New Mexico was organized by the Harwood and highlights a little-known period of Diebenkorn’s work. But it was a time that had a lasting impact on his career.

The exhibition brings together 50 paintings, works on paper, and sculpture that have never been seen together before.



We’d love to know which piece you’d take home. But be prepared. Museum walking makes the guards quite nervous.


-posted on red Ravine, Tuesday, September 25th, 2007

-related to posts: Mabel’s Dining Room, A Reason To Be In Taos This Summer



Diebenkorn in NM, Taos, NM, July 2007, photo by QuoinMonkey, all rights rewerved.

Continues Upstairs, Diebenkorn In New Mexico Exhibit, Harwood Museum, Taos, New Mexico, July 2007, photo by QuoinMonkey, all rights reserved.



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By Laura Stokes


Casa Azul, photo by Laura Stokes 2007, all rights reserved
Casa Azul, the home where Frida Kahlo was born, lived, and died; July 2007, photo © 2007 by Laura Stokes, all rights reserved.



Acting on dream and impulse, we found ourselves in Mexico City last weekend at the Frida Kahlo Centennial Celebration at the Palacio de Bellas Artes in Mexico City. I had read about the exhibit but never thought we would go until I told a friend whose passion for Frida is even larger than mine, and somehow momentum took over. So we booked a flight and arrived late on a Friday evening, very hungry after passing on an option to buy “dinner” of potato chips and Mars bars, the current American Airlines cuisine.

Frida Kahlo Exhibit at Palacio de Bellas Artes, photo by Laura Stokes 2007, all rights reservedThe town was quiet and all the restaurants in the area were closed by 10:30. Our hotel dated from the 17th century when it served as a monastery — old, quaint and spare, as opposed to the luxurious Sheraton across the street where most Americans must have been staying, as we saw only Mexican families in The Cortez. This suited us perfectly and was consistent with our wish to melt into the life of the city. We were pleasantly surprised to see few tourists in the Zocalo, the restaurants, and the museums — selfish of us, I suppose, because I am sure the Mexican economy could use the tourist trade.

Casa Azul Garden, photo by Laura Stokes 2007, all rights reservedI had expected to be touched and inspired by Frida’s actual work, but so much more came to the surface as I stood in the long queues of Mexicans waiting for this unique opportunity to pay homage to one of their most beloved cultural heroes and icons. The works were chosen to exhibit Frida’s life-long dedication to and use of indigenous Mexican folk traditions and popular arts in her work and lifestyle. And by the snail’s pace of the crowd of visitors as they crept along the walls devouring each word of the descriptions and studiously examining the detail and imagery of her paintings, it was obvious that Frida must have been successful in honestly evoking a genuine connection with her audience. Frida’s reverence for the indigenous people and culture permeated her work and was transmitted to those who could most recognize and appreciate it.

Partially constructed in Frida’s garden, photo by Laura Stokes 2007, all rights reservedAgain, at Casa Azul, where Frida was born, lived and died, I continued to notice the reverence of the Mexican people for her work The same long lines of Mexicans were there as were at the museum and the same thoughtful and thorough scrutiny of the works and the memorabilia. I was struck with envy and resentment, as I have often been before, at the lack of heritage and story in my own white Anglo-Saxon protestant background, the poverty of tradition and influence and cherishing of what has passed.

I ponder the social consequences of such a lack of understanding of the significance of belonging to a culture rooted in centuries of custom and tradition and language and how that ignorance and insensitivity is manifested in my own country.



Museum of Anthropology in Mexico City, photo by Laura Stokes 2007, all rights reserved

Museum of Anthropology in Mexico City, July 2007, all photos © 2007 by Laura Stokes, all rights reserved.



About Laura:  Laura Stokes lives in the Rio Grande valley, outside Albuquerque, New Mexico, where she works with great passion on matters of peace and social justice. She is also active in her community and with her daughters and granddaughter, who she happens to presently be keeping up with in Ghost Ranch.

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Northwestern Casket Company building in Northeast Minneapolis, photo © 2007 by QuoinMonkey. All rights reserved.

The Northwestern Casket Company, May 17th 2007, all photos copyright © 2007-2010 by QuoinMonkey, all rights reserved.


I went over to the Casket Arts Building on Thursday to help my friend, Gail, hang her show. She recently joined the rain collective, a confluence of artists who moved into the building this week.

I took my camera along and the pleasure was all mine. The exposed brick had been restored, the studio floors had been sanded and polished to their original luster, a stunning mix of maple and pine.

The oldest portion of the former Northwestern Casket Company, which served as a casket factory until January of 2006, dates back to 1887. It’s one of the oldest surviving buildings in the city of Minneapolis.

Elevator Shaft, May17th, 2007, photo © 2007 by QuoinMonkey. All rights reserved. Smoke Stack from Gail's studio window, May 17th, 2007, photo © 2007 by QuoinMonkey. All rights reserved.

I met owner, Jennifer Young, and we stood in the door of Gail’s studio and chatted for a while about what kind of shape the building was in before they bought it – and what it looks like now (a photographer’s dream).

The former owner of Northwest Casket Company, Robert Berny, rose from clerk to president and spent 6 decades with the company until his death in 2004. He was buried in a custom cherrywood casket.

Tools of the Trade, photo © 2007 by QuoinMonkey. All rights reserved.

Yesterday, the building was bustling with artists preparing for an annual Northeast tradition, Art-A-Whirl. This is the 12th Annual Art-A-Whirl; I remember the first. I had a studio in the Northrup King seed building back then.

When artists come together, the energy is palpable – vibrating and alive. I felt like I was standing in pockets of calm when I captured these images – silent spaces between the buzz of hanging oil, acrylic, and canvas on freshly painted white walls, and lunch at Emily’s Lebanese Deli .


Casket Arts Building, May 17th, 2007,photo © 2007 by QuoinMonkey. All rights reserved. Couch, May 17th, 2007, photo © 2007 by QuoinMonkey. All rights reserved.

Counterweight - Up, Down, May 17th, 2007, photo © 2007 by QuoinMonkey. All rights reserved.


Bathroom window, 4th floor, May 17th, 2007, photo © 2007 by QuoinMonkey. All rights reserved. Emily’s, May 17th, 2007, photo © 2007 by QuoinMonkey. All rights reserved.

Inside, Outside, May 17th, 2007, photo © 2007 by QuoinMonkey. All rights reserved.


Mixing Paint, May 17th, 2007, photo © 2007 by QuoinMonkey. All rights reserved. Comes & Goes, detail, photo © 2007 by QuoinMonkey. All rights reserved.

Sightseer, detail, photo © 2007 by QuoinMonkey. All rights reserved. Where We Meet, detail, photo © 2007 by QuoinMonkey. All rights reserved. Gypsy, detail, May 17th, 2007, photo © 2007 by QuoinMonkey. All rights reserved.

Exit, May 17th, 2007, photo © 2007 by QuoinMonkey. All rights reserved.

Exit, May 17th, 2007, all photos in this post copyright © 2007-2010 by QuoinMonkey, all rights reserved.


Saturday, May 19th, 2007

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Goodbye Blue Monday, For Kurt Vonnegut, 5″x7″, April 2007, oil painting by Mike Schultz, all rights reserved

-Goodbye Blue Monday, For Kurt Vonnegut, 5″ x 7″ oil, April 2007, painting by Mike Schultz © 2007 – 2008, all rights reserved, used by permission of the artist, –posted on red Ravine, May 7th, 2007



At the time I wrote Forget Vonnegut – Jane Kenyon Lives On , I ran across this painting of Vonnegut on the Mike Schultz Paintings website under Recent Work, Kansas, April-May 2007.

The painting reflected back to me how Vonnegut’s experience as a prisoner of war and his witnessing of the bombing of Dresden profoundly influenced his writing. The 1973 novel, Breakfast of Champions, was alternatively titled Goodbye Blue Monday.

I fell in love with Mike’s paintings, most recently of landscapes in Kansas. And I think you will, too. In his Progression of a Painting you can see his process, something every writer and artist knows intimately. If the world only knew the hours and hours that went into finished pieces of writing and art, we’d be the richest people on the planet.

What I also noticed about Mike is that he tithes his art. He is generous of spirit and gives back to the world in many ways, only one of which is his provocative body of work. If you check out his Paintings for Heifer International you can find information about Heifer International and view his latest contributions. Thanks for sharing your work with the world. It’s an inspiration.



-Monday, May 7th, 2007

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