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Art is Good for You © Lino
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Dear loyal MMFA friends,

We know that many of you are home at the moment. Given art’s ability to ease the way through difficult times, we will regularly post cultural offerings to brighten your day.
Whether you are alone or many, with or without children, you will find here a variety of topics to entertain yourselves until we can meet again, in the flesh, at the MMFA.

In the meantime, take care of yourselves and your loved ones.

Art therapy

Open your window to the world outside

In these times of confinement, the daily scene playing out outside our windows has become a familiar one: a cat wandering about, neighbours taking in the early morning sun on their front steps, the burgeoning buds announcing spring…

Stephen Legari invites us to change our perspective on these details to see them as living works of art.

  • Go to the window and observe your outdoor surroundings.
  • Take the time to sketch or paint this familiar scene.
  • As your neighbourhood comes to life on the page, send some positive thoughts to those who live there.
James Wilson Morrice, Red House

James Wilson Morrice, Red House, Venice, about 1906. MMFA, gift of James Wilson Morrice Estate. Photo MMFA

ART THERAPY | Open your window to the world outside

James Wilson Morrice, Red House, Venice, about 1906. MMFA, gift of James Wilson Morrice Estate. Photo MMFA

Co-creating with nature

CALIFORNIA, WEST COAST, Chumash, whale Effigy

CALIFORNIA, WEST COAST, Chumash, whale Effigy, about 1200-1600, steatite, shell inlay. MMFA, purchase, gift of F. Cleveland Morgan. Photo MMFA, Jean-François Brière

ART THERAPY | Co-creating with nature

CALIFORNIA, WEST COAST, Chumash, whale Effigy, about 1200-1600, steatite, shell inlay. MMFA, purchase, gift of F. Cleveland Morgan. Photo MMFA, Jean-François Brière

For this art therapy workshop, you will need a rock and some art supplies (paint, chalk, felt pens, etc.).

Nature is already beautiful as it is, so the goal here is to work with this beauty to transform your rock into a masterpiece, inspired by this happy whale.

Writing

Escape through writing!

  • Simply look at the artwork without trying to analyze it.
  • Hit Play and let yourself be guided.
Prudence Heward, Mountain Scene, 1930s. MMFA, gift of the artist's family. Photo MMFA, Brian Merrett

Prudence Heward, Mountain Scene, 1930s. MMFA, gift of the artist's family. Photo MMFA, Brian Merrett

ART THERAPY | Writing

Prudence Heward, Mountain Scene, 1930s. MMFA, gift of the artist's family. Photo MMFA, Brian Merrett

Playing with colours

Fritz Brandtner, Road to Gaspé, no date. MMFA, gift of Marc Régnier and Claudette Picard. Photo MMFA, Christine Guest

Fritz Brandtner, Road to Gaspé, no date. MMFA, gift of Marc Régnier and Claudette Picard. Photo MMFA, Christine Guest

ART THERAPY | Playing with colours

Fritz Brandtner, Road to Gaspé, no date. MMFA, gift of Marc Régnier and Claudette Picard. Photo MMFA, Christine Guest

This activity is designed for people of all ages.

  • Take some markers, pencil crayons or pastels.
  • Scribble lines on a sheet of paper, and then colour in the shapes formed by the lines.
  • Repeat with your eyes closed.
  • Try the same exercise with the right hand, then the left.
  • Share the activity with someone by taking turns colouring.
  • Try to find familiar forms in the final drawing.

The art of photography

  • Grab a camera or your cell phone.⁣⁣
  • Bring yourself into the present moment.⁣⁣
  • Let yourself be led by whatever naturally draws your eye.⁣⁣
  • Capture the moment.⁣⁣
Raymonde April (born in 1953), “Self-portrait with Curtain,” from the group “My Gaze Is Clear Like a Sunflower,”

Raymonde April (born in 1953), “Self-portrait with Curtain,” from the group “My Gaze Is Clear Like a Sunflower,” 1991, digital chromogenic print from a film negative. MMFA, gift of the artist

ART THERAPY | The art of photography

Raymonde April (born in 1953), “Self-portrait with Curtain,” from the group “My Gaze Is Clear Like a Sunflower,” 1991, digital chromogenic print from a film negative. MMFA, gift of the artist

The mandala
  • ⁣Take any circular object you have on hand, like a bowl or plate, and trace a circle on your sheet of paper.⁣
  • ⁣Fill it in by setting your imagination free: you can use different-coloured markers or paint, or even explore a single shade, like in this work by Louis Archambault (see opposite).
  • ⁣For a fun family activity, take turns filling in the circle with natural or found materials, such as shells, stones, old macaroni. ⁣
Louis Archambault, Untitled [Orange Circle], 1971.⁣ MMFA, gift of the artist in memory of his wife, Mariette.
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The natural world

This meditation activity consists of immersing yourself in a work of art to nourish your inner peace.⁣

  • Read the short text below.⁣
  • Hit Play and let your imagination take over. ⁣

The spring sun returns to nourish the living world around us, the buds appear on the trees, the birds return and each day the sun stays a little longer.⁣ While we all work hard indoors, we can let our imaginations travel to the places in nature that matter most to us. ⁣

Arthur Lismer, Springtime on the Farm, 1917.⁣ MMFA, purchase, A. Sidney Dawes Fund. Photo MMFA

Arthur Lismer, Springtime on the Farm, 1917.⁣ MMFA, purchase, A. Sidney Dawes Fund. Photo MMFA

ART THERAPY | The natural world

Arthur Lismer, Springtime on the Farm, 1917.⁣ MMFA, purchase, A. Sidney Dawes Fund. Photo MMFA

Sharing the love⁣

There are a thousand ways we can continue to take care of each other from a distance.⁣⁣

  • Think of someone you’d like to send some encouraging words to.⁣
  • Make a postcard using inspiring materials you have on hand – it could be as basic as piece of paper and pencil – and write your message.⁣
  • Take a photo of the card with your phone and send it to the person virtually.⁣ ⁣ The key is to focus on the pleasure of creating. Try not to judge or analyze what you’re doing – it’s about enjoying the process. So, turn off the news, take some time for yourself, and relax.⁣

Curatorial’s Pick

You like to discover the works in our collections… and we’re happy to indulge you!

While we wait to welcome you back to the Museum, our curators want to share with you their favourites from our collections.

Iris Amizlev

Curator of Intercultural Arts

Iris Amizlev discusses American photographer Andreas Feininger’s perspective on the inner structure of creatures and objects, inviting us to contemplate nature’s beauty up close as exemplified in this shell from a sea snail.

Iris Amizlev. Photo MBAM, Christine Guest
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Andreas Feininger, Triumphant Star Shell (Guildfordia triumphans Philippi)
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Laura Vigo

Curator of Asian Art

Laura Vigo expresses her fascination with this “bi” disc, formerly used as currency and today a symbol of good fortune in Chinese culture.

Laura Vigo. Photo SPG / Le Pigeon
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Qijia, CHINA, GANSU PROVINCE, ritual disc (“bi”)
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Erell Hubert

Curator of Pre-Columbian Art

Here’s the pick from Erell Hubert. She talks about an artwork from the north coast of Peru, where she had the opportunity to lead archaeological digs in 2018.

The English audio recording follows the French and starts at 0:36.

Erell Hubert. Photo MMFA, Jean-François Brière
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Chimú (900-1470), PERU, NORTH COAST double-chambered bottle: moon goddess and animals, earthenware, moulded relief decoration. MMFA, gift of Sybil and David Fleming. Photo MMFA, Jean-François Brière
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Sylvie Lacerte

Curator of Quebec and Canadian Contemporary Art

“Upon witnessing the total lunar eclipse in September 2015, Martha Townsend experienced an intense feeling of belonging to that which binds all humans of this universe. Her work Belonging is composed of five circular panels of varnished amaranth wood and brushed aluminum laminated onto a wood frame with a plywood base. The aluminum is brushed to give it a texture that emulates the moon’s surface. The five circles depict the ascending and descending phases of the lunar eclipse, also known as the Blood Moon for its colour, or the Harvest Moon due to its occurrence near the autumnal equinox.

In this strange and tumultuous period we are currently living through, Belonging imparts a sense of calm in its universal and timeless quality. It reminds us of the moments of stillness that exist amidst the most turbulent eras of humanity. This wall installation also speaks to me for its majestic solemnity, the techniques used, its colours, materials and impeccable execution, and most particularly for the quiet strength that emanates from it. I think it would be impossible to be untouched by this monumental work, be it for its size or for its evocative power and its beauty, striking in its simplicity.”

Sylvie Lacerte. Photo Jean-François Brière
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Martha Townsend, Belonging, 2016. MMFA, purchase, Ginette Trépanier Bequest and Fund of the Women of Influence Circle. Photo MMFA, Denis Farley
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Mary-Dailey Desmarais,

Curator of International Modern and Contemporary Art

“Theo Eshetu’s Atlas Fractured is one of my favourite recent additions to the MMFA collection. In this mesmerizing film installation, Eshetu combines imagery from art history, anthropology, science and religion from across different time periods and cultures.

The result offers an immersive, transhistorical experience that forces us to question the meaning of identity.

Among the elements of Atlas Fractured that I find most captivating is the soundtrack, which features words by philosophers, poets and writers from around the world, including Carl Jung, James Baldwin, Langston Hughes, Toni Morrison, Angela Davis, Joseph Campbell and Homi Bhabha. For me, some of the most moving verses in the soundtrack come from Maya Angelou’s poem Human Family, the last lines of which read as follows:

We love and lose in China,/ we weep on England’s moors,/ and laugh and moan in Guinea/ and thrive on Spanish shores./ We seek success in Finland,/ are born and die in Maine./ In minor ways we differ,/ in major we‘re the same./ I note the obvious differences/ between each sort and type,/ but we are more alike, my friends,/ than we are unalike.’ … A lesson in love during these troubled times.”

Theo Eshetu, Atlas Fractured (freeze frames), 2017. MMFA, purchase, Horsley and Annie Townsend Bequest. © Theo Eshetu. Courtesy of the artist and Axis Gallery, New York and New Jersey
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Mary Dailey Desmarais. Photo Stéphanie Badini
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Hilliard T. Goldfarb

Senior Curator – Collections and Curator of Old Masters.

“As many of us find ourselves quarantined or in isolation in our homes or apartments, it is a welcome diversion to recall the modest yet intimate and uplifting joy in life that nature can bring to us. That is the delight of a small, charming print in our collection by the German Romantic printmaker Carl Wilhelm Kolbe, titled A Thicket; a Gnarled Willow Tree at Left, a Thicket of Vegetation at Right. This new acquisition is among his most well-known works. The imagery Kolbe created with the etching needle was based ultimately on his own meditations on his countryside treks near Dessau. This small print rewards close observation and reminds us of the wonders to be found in even the most humble displays of nature.”

Hilliard T. Goldfarb. Photo Éliane Excoffier
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Carl Wilhelm Kolbe (1759-1835), A Thicket; a Gnarled Willow Tree at Left, a Thicket of Vegetation at Right
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Jennifer Laurent

Curator of Modern and Contemporary Decorative Arts

“Spanish-born designer Nacho Carbonell infuses his work with whimsical fictional elements that appeal to our imagination and inner senses, at once transporting us far from the realm of the everyday and encouraging us to forge a deeper connection with our inner selves. I particularly love this burnished bronze zoomorphic sculpture – a unique work from his series Time is a Treasure. At first glance, it evokes a fantastical pot-bellied creature standing on stilt-like legs, but upon closer inspection we notice it is brought to life by a working clock hidden within its core. Beckoning us to see beyond the superficial, this thoughtful work gives the time only to those who take the trouble to look closer. As such, it incites us to turn our gaze inward and reconnect with our own internal ticking clock.”

Jennifer Laurent. Photo Jean-François Brière
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Nacho Carbonell, Time is a Treasure VIII, from the series Time is a Treasure, 2013. MMFA, purchase, Suzanne Caouette Bequest. Photo MMFA, Christine Guest
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Jacques Des Rochers

Curator of Quebec and Canadian Art (before 1945)

He relates the positive effect this painting has on him:

“The peacefulness imparted by this painting of a young girl with her dog on the bank; a magical frozen moment, in which the entire foreground devoted to figures is placed in waiting, in the balance, in suspense, as a sailboat passes by and will soon drift out of the spectator’s visual field, into the very high horizon line in the background!”

Jacques Des Rochers. Photo Vincent Lafrance
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William Brymner, Girl with a Dog
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Creative workshops

Paper art

This activity is a tribute to Claude Lafortune, who touched the hearts of an entire generation with his legendary creations.

Gather together a cardboard box, paper, scissors and glue, and create your own paper art together!

© Solene de Bony

ATELIER DE CRÉATION : Le décor de papier | CREATIVE WORKSHOP: Paper art

Still life

Kate Walker, museum mediator at the MMFA, shares a creative workshop for the whole family.

The first-ever museums were composed of treasures that had been gathered over the years by explorers, scientists and collectors. These objects, at times rare and peculiar but always intriguing, were exhibited in cabinets of curiosities.
In among these displays, it was not uncommon to find paintings called still lifes that immortalized a collection’s most handsome items – much like the Jacques Linard work that was today’s inspiration.
Create your own still life at home by gathering some of your everyday objects you want to draw! You will see these subjects in a new light and discover their many hidden secrets…

The professions at the MMFA

Le métier de technicienne à la restauration | The profession of Conservation Technician
The profession of Conservation Technician

With Sacha Marie Levay, Conservation Technician

The profession of Art Therapist

With Stephen Legari, Educational Programs Officer – Art Therapy.

Le métier d’art-thérapeute ⁣| The profession of Art Therapist
Le métier de conservatrice ⁣| The profession of Curator
The profession of Curator⁣

With Anne Grace, Curator of Modern Art.

⁣*Please note the interview is in French only.

The profession of Conservator

With Richard Gagnier, Head of Conservation.⁣

⁣*Please note the interview is in French only.

Le métier de restaurateur | The profession of Conservator

Art in education

Learn the fun way: the MMFA’s EducArt platform.

EducArt offers a gateway into the Museum’s collection through various themes and social issues like the heart, the body, cultural diversity, ecology and peace. Adapted to specific elementary and secondary school levels, the platform is accessible for free.

Ecology

Raise your children and young teens’ consciousness about respect for the environment!

Watch the video Love, Connection, Nature with EducArt expert Étienne Lapierre, beekeeper and cofounder of the urban beekeeping firm Alvéole, as he shares his perspective on ecology through a work by Ludger Larose.

Add to get your creativity buzzing, check out the interdisciplinary project carried out by students at Charles-Le Moyne elementary school in Montreal:

Ludger Larose, Flower Composition with Figure, Logan Greenhouse, 1899. MMFA purchase, Marcel Boisvert Bequest and Horsley and Annie Townsend Bequest.
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Communication

Explore with your children a theme that is especially important in this period of confinement: communication.

Watch this video of Matthieu Dugal, host and commentator at Radio-Canada, who offers his perspective on this topic through the works of Betty Goodwin, Dana Schutz, Barbara Steinman, and John Adam Zellers and Herbert E. Bridgewater.
(In French with English subtitles)

To see more creative ideas for exploring communication, check out the interdisciplinary EducArt project produced by the students at Langevin secondary school in Rimouski that marries the English language, visual arts and music.

Dana Schutz, How We Would Talk, 2007. Photo MMFA
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Peace

Explore the theme of peace with your children and young teens.⁣ Watch the video of Monique Mujawamariya, President and founder of Fédération Mafubo Internationale, who discusses this topic through the work Peace and Justice by Pompeo Batoni.⁣

Take your reflection further, check out our interdisciplinary project in visual arts,⁣ languages, science and technology carried out by elementary and secondary school students on our EducArt website.

Pompeo Batoni, Peace and Justice
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Resiliency

Introduce the concept of resiliency for your children and young teens. Michèle Viau-Chagnon, EducArt expert and cofounder of Le Phare Enfants et Familles respite care organization, demystifies the notion, which is eloquently illustrated in a work by artist Jim Dine.⁣

Take the exploration further and check out our interdisciplinary project on resiliency specially designed for secondary students on our EducArt website.

Jim Dine, The Heart Called “After the Flood”
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Digital tour

The Arts of One World

How about taking a virtual discovery tour of the Arts of One World?

Our Geopoetic Tour proposes an exploration of art in which the dividing lines between frontiers and eras have been effaced. Take the time to ponder nine works from our collection and let your imagination wander.

Available on our mobile app!

Teotihuacan (150 B.C.E. – 650 C.E.), MEXICO, CENTRAL HIGHLANDS, mask, 300-600. MMFA, purchase, gift of Miss Mabel Molson. Photo MMFA
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Portrayals of the Human Body

The human body is fascinating fertile ground for artistic exploration.

Head to our mobile app to discover 10 artworks – 10 unique representations of the body, each reflecting a particular era and singular vision.⁣⁣

François Joseph Bosio, The Nymph Salmacis, after 1826.⁣⁣ MMFA, on loan from R. Moat. Photo MMFA.⁣⁣
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The MMFA's masterpieces

See the Museum’s masterpieces (almost) as if you were here!⁣

Discover the treasures in our collection! Nathalie Bondil, Director General and Chief Curator of the MMFA, has selected some 30 works from our International and Québec and Canadian art collections.⁣

Take a virtual tour on our mobile app.⁣

Podcasts

At home with the kids? Here’s the perfect podcast to stimulate their creativity: La vie secrète de l’art! (in French only)

It features five original stories invented by children’s author Simon Boulerice based on artworks in the MMFA’s collection.

Free on our mobile app and wherever you download your podcasts.

The podcast La vie secrète de l’art was produced by Magnéto and La puce à l’oreille in collaboration with the MMFA. It has been nominated for a Numix award, which recognizes excellence in Quebec digital media productions.

Egyptian Mummies: Exploring Ancient Lives

Discover the exhibition's through an audioguide and a virtual stroll!

Travel back to ancient Egypt and uncover the mysteries of mummies with the exhibition audioguide, now available for free on our mobile app. Psst! The app also has an audioguide specially created for children!

We’ve opened our video archives and selected the most stunning images, so you can dive (back) into this fascinating exhibition, as you wind your way through its galleries and observe these long-ago inhabitants of the Nile.

Montreal Museum of fine Arts presents Egyptian Mummies: Exploring Ancient Lives

Movies and videos

Rediscover our collections, exhibitions and much more on our YouTube channel.

From former Director General and Chief Curator Nathalie Bondil’s top-pick cultural activities to interviews with artists, exhibition montages and talks given by experts, our YouTube channel is overflowing with videos that will introduce you to entirely new facets of art.

Jean-Baptiste Carpeaux, Bacchante with Roses

Our Director General and Chief Curator presents one of her favourite works in the Museum's collection: Bacchante with Roses by Jean-Baptiste Carpeaux.

See the work

Nathalie Bondil: artworks that speak to me
Jean-Baptiste Carpeaux, «Bacchante aux roses» / "Bacchante with Roses"

ART • SERIES | Your first purchase of an artwork

Every art collection starts with that first acquisition. How does one become a collector? What do you need to know about the art market before diving in?

Jo-Anne Duchesne, Director of Operations at the MMFA Foundation, unites three stakeholders around her virtual table to answer these questions:

  • Manuel Mathieu, artist
  • Alain Tremblay, contemporary art collector
  • Sylvie Lacerte, Curator of Quebec and Canadian Art at the MMFA

This event is organized by the MMFA’s Young Philanthropists’ Circle (YPC) and is sponsored by Hatch. This webinar is in French only.

ART • SÉRIE | Acheter sa première œuvre d’art

Paris in the Days of Post-Impressionism: Signac and the Indépendants

Do you miss the Museum? We miss you too and can’t wait to welcome you back!

In the meantime, Nathalie Bondil, Director General and Chief Curator of the MMFA, wants to give you a taste of our upcoming major exhibition, Paris in the Days of Post-Impressionism: Signac and the Indépendants.

In this video, she revisits the dawn of Post-Impressionism in the Paris of the Belle Époque, and discusses artists whose masterpieces you’ll have a chance to admire: from Monet to Redon, with Pissarro, Morisot and Seurat in between.

Bondil also shares the behind-the-scenes work that goes into such an exhibition, such as how the physical presentation of artworks was thought out and developed around the central figure of Paul Signac, cofounder of the Salon des Indépendants.

The video is in French with English subtitles.

Nathalie Bondil répond à vos questions | Nathalie Bondil answers your questions

160 CANDLES FOR THE MMFA

In these walls, you’ve wandered the galleries, discovered your favourite artist and picked up a painting technique… you’ve even returned several times to an exhibition that moved you.

April 23, 2020, marks the MMFA’s 160th anniversary, (re)visit the MMFA’s history through the 2011 film “A Museum in the City,” by Luc Bourdon.

Co-production NFB – Echo Media (Montreal)
Distribution: NFB (National Film Board of Canada)

Chaki | A movie by Joshua Dorsey

The year 2020 marks the 75th anniversary of the end of the Holocaust. Wanting to pay tribute to the memories of the victims, the MMFA is honouring Yom HaShoah, or Holocaust Remembrance Day, with the announcement of the upcoming exhibition Yehouda Chaki: Mi Makir; A Search for the Missing. Its opening is postponed until fall 2020, along with a documentary on Chaki at the Cinéma du Musée. Discover now an excerpt of the film directed by Joshua Dorsey.

3 minutes with an artwork

Through these videos, our Volunteer Guides share with you the stories behind the works in our collection.

Marc-Aurèle Fortin, Storm Brewing over Hochelaga, about 1940. MMFA, gift of Musée Marc-Aurèle Fortin (gift of Abra and William Mastenbroek)
Marc-Aurèle Fortin, Storm Brewing over Hochelaga

Marc-Aurèle Fortin, Storm Brewing over Hochelaga, about 1940. MMFA, gift of Musée Marc-Aurèle Fortin (gift of Abra and William Mastenbroek)

Marc-Aurèle Fortin, «Commencement d’orage sur Hochelaga» / “Storm Brewing over Hochelaga”

Interviews with artists in a time of crisis

Adad Hannah

Mary-Dailey Desmarais, Curator of International Modern and Contemporary Art at the MMFA, is using this confinement period to conduct a series of interviews with artists. In this first episode, she sits down (remotely) with Adad Hannah!

To learn more about the artist’s work, visit his website

The Museum's works... revisited!

Even in confinement, the MMFA’s teams continue to be inspired by the works in our collection. Interpretations of artworks are cropping up all around the world, sparked by an original idea of @tussenkunstenquarantaine.

Get inspired by our collection yourself, and share your images with musee@mbamtl.org or on social media. Remember to add the mention @mbamtl in your posts, so that we can find you.

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