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Art is hope banner image displaying the artist Daphne Arthur

Zadig & Voltaire is committed to philanthropy and bringing awareness to organizations that augment the state of communities around them. May, 2021, marks the one year anniversary of The Art Is Hope campaign. This quarter we’ve been able to donate another installment of over a quarter of a million dollars to our Art is Hope partners.


To honor the year anniversary we reached back out to NAMI-NYC, BAIA and LADP to hear about how these donations have helped and impacted their communities at large.


Black Art In America

– Najee Dorsey, Founder of BAIA

Which programs have the contributions from Art Is Hope directly affected?


BAIA BITS educates thousands weekly via our site and social media by highlighting the work and lives of such noted historic artists as Meta Warrick Fuller, Charles White, Gwendolyn Knight, John Biggers, Betty Blayton-Taylor, and many more.


Blacklite With Steve Prince features Prince, a mixed media artist, educator, and the Director of Engagement and Distinguished Artist in Residence at the Muscarelle Museum at The College of William & Mary. In each segment, Prince compares, analyzes, and deconstructs the artistic renderings of noted African American artists for BAIA’s substantial audience, focusing on key elements of design, content, and style. He further acknowledges the historical impact of their works on the African American and larger community.


Relating to Art with Dr. Kelli Morgan features topical talk and art analysis by Dr. Kelli Morgan, the former associate curator of American art at the Indianapolis Museum of Art Galleries at Newfields, who specializes in American art and visual culture with a scholarly commitment to the investigation of race. Morgan provides a rich analysis of the sociopolitical relevance of African American artists and their works, both historic and contemporary, aimed at educating BAIA’s substantial audience.


Black Art In America The Magazine is an extension of the ongoing mission of Black Art In America to document, preserve and promote the contributions of the African American arts community. This new venture will enable Black Art In America to reach a print audience alongside its current and popular digital offerings. It will further our mission by providing quality content in multiple forms for a larger audience; by infusing our artists and their work into places they previously have not been; and by leveraging the network and collective strength of the institutions we partner with to advance the cause of African American art.



What are you optimistic & excited about this coming year?


BAIA is very excited about continuing its productive and successful relationship with Zadig & Voltaire. The relationship has raised funds for numerous arts vehicles during a global crisis while simultaneously providing a visible platform for emerging artists and organizations. BAIA looks forward to the campaign raising more funds for arts organizations and featuring more Black Art in America-based artists in the months to come. We also are currently working to add full time staff to the BAIA team and the resources from the Art is Hope campaign will assist in that greatly.



Los Angeles Dance Project

– Cassandra Kraus, Director Of Development

As a non-profit organization, significantly affected by the pandemic, we will always be grateful that Zadig&Voltaire stepped up to support the arts community in such an impactful way. It is rare to work with a corporate partner that is truly in it for the cause and selflessly committed to advancing and advocating the work of the non-profit. Zadig&Voltaire’s authentically altruistic approach to the campaign was tangible and inspired hope for LADP when we needed it most.


What are you optimistic & excited about this coming year?


All LADP dancers have been vaccinated thanks to the amazing partnership with the Gabriella Foundation. This means LADP dancers can begin rehearsals and safely dancing together. The wonderful and talented Janie Taylor is in the process of creating a new piece and LADP will run a series of performances from the end of May through June. In addition Ms. Taylor’s new work, Solo at Dusk will also be presented at the performances. The performances will be outdoors and the company is very excited to engage our community and audience in performances again. We know, from the 2020 drive-in's, how important it is for people to be able to experience dance again and the shared community feeling of a live performance.



National Alliance On Mental Illness

– Sarah Sheahan, Director Of Events & Operations

How have these donations allowed NAMI to continue to help and increase their outreach?


With increased PTSD, trauma, anxiety and depression as an outcome of the isolation and uncertainty of the pandemic, NAMI-NYC is responding to the growing demands for our free mental health support programs and services. NAMI-NYC is increasing its capacity to handle a growing number of calls and emails through its. Helpline and is facilitating intra-office referrals to our suite of programs and services designed to support the variety of participants we serve. Where needed, the Helpline will also refer participants to community-based providers/partners through our referral database (of over 500 other organizations).


The expansion of our programs will especially target those living in underserved and disadvantaged communities. We are increasing the frequency of our classes to serve: Black individuals and other persons of color, LGBTQ+ individuals, Latinx and Spanish language speakers, Chinese language speakers, Deaf and hard-of-hearing participants, and older adults. We will serve these new participants to NAMI-NYC through our information and resource Helpline, over 30 monthly support groups, evidence-based education classes, stigma-reducing presentations, public education events, and more. We will also recruit, train and supervise additional volunteer teachers, facilitators, and presenters.



What is NAMI optimistic & excited about this coming year?


We are growing the number of people we serve, especially focusing on reaching underserved communities. We are seeking to serve 70,000 participants by the end of 2023 (29,000 people are currently engaged with our programs and services). We will introduce new programs and services that will adapt to changing needs for New Yorkers with mental illness over the next few years. NAMI-NYC traditionally serves a diverse swath of people. The difference now, at this challenging time, is that we are intentionally reaching out to specific underserved and disadvantaged communities because we know the need is greatest there.



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Basia Goszczynska's Art Banner

Ashley Chew is an Artist, Model, Activist, and Culture Writer based in New York, NY. Chew's paintings focus on the resilience, rest, regality, and visibility of marginalized groups. This is a direct contrast of the trauma depicted across mass media. Chew also works across murals, installations, dyes, leather goods, hand-lettering, and silk-screening.


What does “Art is Hope” mean to you personally?

To me Art is Hope means that Art can heal. Art can change. Art can connect. Art can communicate. We are at a time where people decorate posters for protests. Protests for rights, for wrongs, for groups, for individuals. It is Art, it is expression. Photojournalists, painters, designers, are all documenting what is going on. We always have. It gives us hope we will look back on those images and things get better. Art records the hope now, and the for the future.



How does art directly impact your mental health?


Art has directly impacted my mental health through many phases in life. Art has been used as communication when I was too shy to speak or set boundaries. Art has been healing for myself, healing for others, healing of the times. My work directly focuses on the mental health and depiction of marginalized groups. Historically and in mass media today, we are exposed to Black trauma. We tell other stories besides pain and defeat. My work directly focuses on the rest, resilience, regality, and beauty standards of People of Color.



How has this moment in time impacted your art?


This moment in time has impacted my art by continuing to walk in my purpose and inspire others to do so. Prior to the shutdowns across industries due to a global pandemic, I was already working as a Full-Time Artist. I was always met with questions “when will you get a job?”,or flooded with fear-based questions. The past year has taught us that there is no “real security”, so there’s no reason to not pursue your purpose or what brings you joy! I continue to work with the enthusiasm, curiosity, and discipline I had prior to lockdown. I have been a lot more brave with color and letting go of things being exact. Art should be fun.



How has working from home impacted your creative process?


As a New Yorker, working from home is a part of the “package deal” as a creative. I live alone, so naturally as an introverted artist, it has been a treat. I do have moments where I wish I was in a busting co-working space or shared studio. I am the eldest of 5, and a working Fashion model. Those things have forced me to be extroverted over time. Naturally I am reclusive. Very private. I try not to share personal life online. To have a roof over my head, safety, solace, security. Has been an incredible blessing.



How do you think this global experience will impact the overall art Industry?


The Art industry had to shift how they reached the consumer and viewer during the pandemic. For a year we could not just stroll into galleries, mingle at openings or go with our families to museums. Social Media was great for Artists before but now with virtual exhibitions, galleries on Social Media and Artists talks (some of which I’ve done myself). Art feels more accessible. During lockdown, I hosted drawing classes on Zoom; for anyone who felt like expressing themselves while we couldn't be near each other. Society realized how much we relied on The Arts for healing, community and entertainment.



What is your relationship with BAIA?


Black Art In America is a network I have followed on Social Media for sometime. They highlight exhibitions, galleries and works but Black Artists. Even on Social Media you learn discover so much from their feed. With New York City being one of the last locations to lift restrictions and allow public events. I have not been able to get involved with the community in person as much as I would like to. I hope to work with BAIA directly soon!


Follow Ashley on Instagram @ash_chew

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Art Is Hope Introducing Artist Basia Goszczynska Banner

The month of April is dedicated to the Earth. Observing global events such as Earth Day, April 22nd, have been common practice since 1970. This month we are focusing the efforts of the ‘Art Is Hope’ campaign on the environment and its conservation. We are also celebrating Earth month by featuring artists whose work and practice is centered around the earth and how we interact with it. Our second feature artist is Basia Goszczynska.


Brooklyn-based artist, Basia Goszczynska, explores environmental and waste issues through a variety of mediums including sculpture, installation, performance, social practice and new media. She has presented her work in numerous exhibitions including at Pintô International, Ithra, Arcadia Earth, Hopscotch, the Mid-Manhattan Public Library and OCAD University. Her most recent commissions include large-scale sculptures for the launch of partnerships between Mohawk Group and the Ocean Cleanup as well as Corona USA and Oceanic Global. She has received fellowships from the Vermont Studio Center and the Massachusetts Cultural Council as well as the Ray Stark Film Prize. Her work has been featured in the New York Times, Forbes, Vogue, ArtNet, Curbed, and Time Out, among others. Basia received her BFA from the School of the Art Institute of Chicago and her MFA from the Mason Gross School of the Arts at Rutgers University.

Basia Goszczynska's Art Banner 2

How has this moment in time impacted your art?


Over the past two years I’ve become more sensitive to how polarized our political landscape has become and how hard it is to establish common ground with people on the major issues we face. I’ve also put a lot more effort into listening and trying to understand alternative perspectives. I do believe that most people mean well, which helps me maintain a level of optimism, however challenging the process sometimes is. Ultimately, as I attempt to distill these explorations into art, I hope that my work reflects a spirit of inquiry, not just activism or didacticism.



Have you found yourself creating any new daily rituals being at home?


Learning new things etc. Any new rituals that may differ from lockdown earlier in the year? A couple of months ago I started meditating for twenty minutes a day to help me manage my stress. I’m better now at acknowledging stressors and taking a few breaths to calm down my nervous system throughout the day. I’ve also started taking a full day away from the studio, once a week, to gain more balance between my work and personal life. These two lifestyle changes have helped me better enjoy the demanding production process of creating my large-scale installations.



How do you think this global experience will impact the overall art industry?


Many artists and organizations have adapted to the pandemic’s lockdowns by expanding their skill sets and they now offer valuable virtual programming. There’s definitely some benefit to events, such as lectures and seminars, being more accessible and open in that way. For me, however, social distancing has only reaffirmed just how much I value in-person interactions and how much the virtual version of an event falls short. I hope things will eventually open back up. And, when they do, I think that experiential artworks with a strong social engagement component will bounce back in popularity.


See more of Basia’s work here @basia_gosz or visit https://www.basiagoszczynska.com

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Art Is Hope Introducing Artis Andrew Herzog  Banner

The month of April is dedicated to the Earth. Observing global events such as Earth Day, April 22nd, have been common practice since 1970. This month we are focusing the efforts of the ‘Art Is Hope’ campaign on the environment and its conservation. We are also celebrating Earth month by featuring artists whose work and practice is centered around the earth and how we interact with it. To kick it off we have enlisted artist Andrew Herzog, who, in the middle of moving houses took time to answer some questions and hug a tree.


Andrew Herzog is a conceptual artist. In an effort to establish an accessible language for his work Herzog utilizes comprehensible and often recognizable materials, methodologies, and tools to create ephemeral opportunities to interface with the anthropocentric world we inhabit. His projects manifest as installations and interventions in public space, museums, galleries, and city streets.

Andrew Herzog's Self Portrait

How has this moment in time impacted your art?


I think this moment has made me think about the things that are essential to the work that I make. I’ve been continuing to think about how important it can be to make work that conversates rather than states. I’ve been thinking a lot about our planet and consider how we inhabit it. How we need to take care of each other. Be communicative. Be considerate. Thinking a lot about how short our lives are but how much impact we can have even as individuals.

Andrew Herzog's Art Banner 3 with quote

How has working from home impacted your creative process?


Working from home has definitely slowed down certain aspects of my creative process but sped up others. I feel like I’ve been going through a heavy research phase over the last year. Doing a lot of reading and writing, but less making of actual work. It’s been a welcome shift of pace, though, given the fact that everything else has been so off the wall. At the end of the day, though, the realization has been that I’m super fortunate to be able to work from home and have the opportunity to put my energy towards these things.



How do you think this global experience will impact the overall art industry?


I feel somewhat non-optimistic about the art industrialists. I think the industry will try to continue to operate in the fashion that it did before as soon as it can. However, I think artists will emerge from this period of time differently. I’m not totally sure what that means, but I think we’ve seen a lot happen over the past year. There have been many voices heard for the first time, which I’m hoping will inevitably shift in the industry's perspective. I’m optimistic about artists. I think they’ll demand and create the change they want to see in the industry.


See more of Andrew Herzog’s work here @andrew_herzog or visit www.andrewherzog.com

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Art Is Hope Steve A. Prince Banner

Steve A. Prince is a mixed media artist, master printmaker, lecturer, educator, and art evangelist. Steve is a native of New Orleans and the crescent city's rich tradition of art, music and religion pulsate through his work. He uses the language of the line in a rhythmic and powerful way. Prince's art is inherently narrative and metaphorically complex. He uses a rich, visual vocabulary of signs and symbols to tell stories that express his unique vision founded in hope, faith and creativity. Prince is the fourth artist to partner with us in support of Black Art In America an organization committed to the documentation, preservation and promotion of the contributions of the African American arts community founded by Najee Dorsey in 2011.

Steve A. Prince at his studio

How did your relationship with Black Art In America come to be?


I have known about the social and communal work Black Art in America (BAIA) has consistently done for several years supporting, exposing, educating, and championing the brilliance of African American artists to a global market. It was in the midst of the Pandemic that we forged a relationship and I began selling my works in BAIA’s on-line store. After forging our relationship I started an on-line program sponsored by BAIA called Black Lite, and I do comparative analysis of African American artists artwork. Last summer I started a new series of Watercolor Monotypes primarily focused on Jazz music, and everyday scenes in African American culture. The process is spontaneous, improvisational, and very colorful. I sift through a dense-pack of colors on specially treated plastic by cutting them into different shapes, arrange them onto a piece of Plexiglass, and run them through a press to create collage-like compositions that ultimately is a design exercise of space and symbols. The process of creating these works was therapeutic and pure. The Pandemic rested on the heels of a community based-project that I designed and conducted in Williamsburg, Virginia commemorating the 400th anniversary of the “first 20 and odd Africans” to arrive at Point Comfort (Hampton) in 1619. It was called the “Links Project.” Over the course of 6 months I worked with over 500 people from 20 different countries in the creation of individualized puzzle-like pieces carved with a rotary tool, that was assembled into a 4’ x 32’ woodcut, and printed with an industrial steamroller. The Links Project metaphorically represents our inextricable connections as a global community and the importance for us to continue to find creative, and innovative ways to grapple with the deep-set issues that plague our world.



Have you found yourself creating any new daily rituals in response to COVID 19 ?


When the Pandemic hit and the reality that we were in this for the long-haul I created a routine for myself that involved making home cooked meals, exercising, meditating, reading fiction, watching Netflix, creating art, and producing free on-line content on YouTube. The key ingredient that I stepped up in my life was physical activity, it is important in this moment to keep moving and don’t stop.

An image of Steve Prince's Artwork called Mixing


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Daphne Arthur main banner

Daphne Arthur is a contemporary artist, who currently lives and works in New York City. Daphne combines painting, sculpture, drawing, and collage, as well as unexpected materials, in an effort to break down archetypal aesthetic barriers and stereotypical perceptions on issues of race, gender, religion, and cultural identity. She purposefully blends two-dimensional forms with three-dimensional figurative casts in her paintings, and predominately utilizes smoke in her drawings, to go out of her way to capture viewers’ attention. This decision compels them to confront her determination to knock down social and cultural paradigms that have gained the status of “truth” at the expense of individual personality, thought, and achievement. Daphne is the third artist to partner with us in support of Black Art In America an organization committed to the documentation, preservation and promotion of the contributions of the African American arts community founded by Najee Dorsey in 2011.


Daphne Arthur was born in Caracas, Venezuela in 1984. In 2007, she went to the School of the Art Institute of Chicago to get her Bachelors of Fine Art and then to the Yale School of Art to get her Masters of Fine Arts in 2009. While getting her bachelor's, she received residency in 2007 for the Ox-Bow School of Art and also received the American Academy of Rome, Affiliated Fellowship while she was in graduate school. After getting her BFA and MFA, Arthur participated in multiple group exhibitions and solo exhibitions. Over the years, she has been a curator, artist and designer, a teaching assistant, and a teacher. Arthur is currently an Adjunct Professor at York College, Brooklyn College and SMFA Tufts University.

Daphne Arthur at work in her studio

How do you think this global experience will impact the overall art industry?


I think it’s allowing the market to open up a little more, it’s more accessible, for example, the art fairs are happening virtually and therefore allowing more visibility. You can give an artist talk or a lecture and people from all over the world will join the session, that’s really unprecedented not to be limited by space nor time. However, I hope that the accessibility will not overpower the importance of seeing art in person, it’s meant to be experiential and so much gets abstracted and omitted through the mediation of the screen. Now we are living through a new era of art in the age of digitization and algorithms, this empowers us as artist and viewers to imagine new ways of reaching out, experiencing, cultivating, and mining our world and perspectives in ways that are ever more interconnected.



What is your relationship with BAIA? How did it come to be? Can you fill us in on past projects of note etc?


I have been following BAIA for quite some time, I was encouraged and drawn to the platform they created to bring visibility and diversity in the art world, opening up the gamut in art history and contemporary investigations and dialogues. I reached out to Najee Dorsey with my work and he immediately engaged with my work. Often it can feel very isolating being an artist, on top of that an artist of color and find whom you can have a genuine conversation about the practice or advice on how to take the career to another level, without the fluff, ego, and taboo. Najee and BAIA have supported my practice and that of so many artists, they have created a cultural hub for this millennium.

Daphne Arthur Wall Art


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Art is hope LADP banner image

L.A. Dance Project

Founded in 2012 by Benjamin Millepied LA Dance Project is comprised of 12 full time dancers but its repertory features multidisciplinary collaborators such as musicians, film makers and composers. Zadig & Voltaire’s creative director Cecilia Bonstrom and Millepied have been long time friends & collaborators; first partnering when Zadig sponsored Millepied’s photo exhibit in Kyoto in 2019. Earlier this year LADP joined our Art is Hope project when we launched our Art Is Hope X LADP T-shirt to support and raise awareness of the amazing work that Millepied and his company create. Through this partnership in Art is Hope we were able to co-sponsor the LADP’s Drive in Dance series that took place in Los Angeles this fall. Our latest collaboration is this exclusive capsule collection available only in the USA. Each of the 17 styles designed in our Paris atelier embody the ‘dancer off duty’ spirit. Discover our signature silhouettes re imagined alongside brand new items such as legwarmers & a matching tracksuit. A percent of the proceeds from each ZV X LADP item sold will be donated to LADP.*



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Art is hope banner image displaying the artist Amanda Wachob

NYC tattoo artist Amanda Wachob is the latest artist collaborator to contribute to the Zadig & Voltaire Art Is Hope program.

Wachob’s bright and sunny studio based in Williamsburg set the scene for our interview.



How does art directly impact your mental health?


Creating is my therapy. It’s a daily practice for me, a commitment I show up for even when I may not feel particularly inspired, because it’s something I have to do in order to feel healthy. Focusing on a new idea can immediately quiet my mind and pull me out of any sort of rumination.

Art is hope Images of Artist work Amanda Wachob with quotes

How do you think this global experience will impact the overall art industry?


Can we find a connection across technology? A lot of galleries have switched their exhibitions to online viewing rooms. Like most industries, I think it’s going to take some time for the art world to recalibrate. I have a show opening up at a gallery in Boston this September, and we are brainstorming about having a Zoom opening reception for it.



Why did you choose NAMI-NYC charity as a partner?


I chose NAMI-NYC because with all of the turmoil going on in the world, mental health is extremely important in this moment.

Image of custom painted jackets collection

Your customized leather jackets features a rainbow. Can you tell us why you chose that symbol and a little about the method used to paint it on to the leather?


A rainbow is a symbol of hope. They always feel like a good luck charm when they appear. I thought it might be nice to have one to carry around when a moment like that might be needed. The rainbows have actually been tattooed permanently into the leather. So putting the jacket on and taking it off, is like having a removable tattoo! The colors that appear in the rainbow have been pulled from the palette of the new Zadig &Voltaire collection.



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Art is hope banner image displaying the artist Najee Dorsey

What does “Art is Hope” mean to you personally?


To me art has always been the perfect representation of HOPE. Art has the ability to transform negative things and feelings into positive. It has the ability of making us see beyond the problem and create and envision a future filled with positive ideas and energies. Art can do a lot of good in societies and communities that have experienced traumas or difficulties. When people have the possibility to do something that gives them hope and a sense of meaning, that might make a difference for them.


Art has the capability of making you feel that you exist and organically connects you with everything that is essential, resulting in hope that changes your mindset for the better.


Art is hope banner image displaying the artist Jormi

What does “Art is Hope” mean to you personally?


There are perhaps no better two words in the vocabulary than Art and Hope. As an artist I use my creative imagination to document our existence and envision a world that I want to exist. Hope is a resource, something precious to hold on to that allows us to dream and believe in things that may seem insurmountable. Art and hope has been the Crossroads I've traversed my entire life. It is the blessing I wish on humanity.


Art is hope banner image displaying Creative Director Cecilia Bonstrom

What does “Art is Hope” mean to you personally?


For me art makes you dream, and sometimes when you go far away maybe you suddenly realize that life is actually not so bad after all. It can help you reconnect with reality again. And hope is the only motor that makes you move forward, so Art is hope.


Art is hope banner image displaying the artist Khalif Tahir Thompson

Zadig & Voltaire is committed to philanthropy and bringing awareness to organizations that augment the state of communities around them.

Two of Khalif Tahir Thompson's art pieces

Khalif Tahir Thompson is a New York City based artists represented by Black Art In America. Thompsons work can be found in prominent private collections nationally as well as the permanent collection of the David C. Driskell Center. Zadig & Voltaire’s Head of Creative Ryan Gendron recently had the pleasure of visiting Khalif in his NYC studio to discuss the world today. Scroll down to read the full Q&A.

Art is hope banner image displaying the artist Khalif Tahir Thompson

How has this moment in time impacted your craft and creative process?


Between a global health crisis, and the continued racial injustices pervaded by law enforcement particularly against Black Americans, I have felt at times unmotivated to work. However, in maintaining my mental health, I have looked to my creative practice for solace and comfort. I have been compelled to transform my surroundings and express myself during this difficult time.


Art is a core pillar of the house and is also the source of positivity and inspiration during uncertain times. In collaboration with artists such as; Jormi Graterol, Amanda Wachob, Najee Dorsey, Khalif Thompson and Benjamin Millepied and many more we have been able to share the missions of these organizations and their formidable work.



How do you think this global experience will impact the art community?


This crisis has forced the art community to reimagine itself and navigate different ways of communicating art to the public. In response to the closing of major art institutions and cultural centers, much of our community have begun to create more accessible spaces online. I foresee more events and programming being implemented on Zoom and other virtual platforms. As well as online exhibitions and studio visits. I think this global crisis will increase (DIY) programming by artists and creatives, expanding diverse viewership/ conversations on art.



What does “Art is Hope” mean to you personally?


Art is Hope is a mantra I live by every day, through the consumption of music, painting, writing, ritual making, papermaking, film, etc. I foster hope and inspiration to create.Art has always been my survival and lifted me when down. Art is the greatest gift and hopes I carry, motivating me to start the day.



Now that NYC is in phase 4 of reopening is there anything, in particular, you have loved doing these past weeks?


Going out to a restaurant outside for the first time, I love food. I'm also a huge thrifter, collector of plants, and I'm a city kid, so I've enjoyed going downtown for some walking and shopping.

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