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Gordon Bennett
Be Polite
June 30 to September 24, 2017
Alvin Balkind Gallery and Events Room

The Contemporary Art Gallery is pleased to present an exhibition of largely unseen works on paper by one of Australia’s most visionary and critical artists, Gordon Bennett (1955–2014).

Working closely with the Estate of Gordon Bennett and IMA Brisbane the show will comprise a selection of works on paper including drawing, painting, watercolour, poetry, and essays from the early 1990s through to the early 2000s. Though rarely seen in exhibition contexts, Bennett’s drawing and script form the foundation of his practice. Paper is the site where imagery, words and ideas often found their first expression before being combined into the large-scale conceptual paintings for which Bennett is known. Despite their relatively small scale, works in Be Polite embrace rich layers of Western and Australian Indigenous art history and contemporary politics, a direction Bennett played a leading role in developing throughout the 1980s and continued to explore in his successful career. As such the shared colonial histories with Canada and in particular the plight of local First Nations are set in dialogue across continents. Issues, events and histories are given compelling voice in these provocative and often disturbing images.

Accompanying the exhibition is a publication featuring contributions by Helen Hughes, Julie Nagam and Ian McLean is published with Sternberg Press.

First presented at IMA, Brisbane and subsequently at Perth Institute of Contemporary Arts in 2016, the exhibition will evolve and be reconfigured with a new selection of works at the Contemporary Art Gallery in Vancouver. This version will then travel to McMaster Museum of Art, Hamilton in 2018.

Be Polite is supported by the Queensland Government through Arts Queensland, Australia Council for the Arts, Ministry of Communications and the Arts through Visions of Australia, The Estate of Gordon Bennett, Milani Gallery, and Sutton Gallery.

Bennett has been the subject of major solo presentations and retrospectives at Ikon Gallery, Birmingham, (touring, Europe), 1999–2000, Griffith University, Brisbane, (touring, Australia), 2004–2005, and the National Gallery of Victoria, Melbourne, (touring, Australia), 2007–2009. International recognition and attention for Bennett’s work has been growing with his inclusion in the acclaimed dOCUMENTA (13), in Kassel in 2012, and in the 8th Berlin Biennale in 2014.

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Gordon Bennett - Be Polite


Levine Flexhaug
A Sublime Vernacular: The Landscape Paintings
June 30 to September 24, 2017
B.C. Binning Gallery

A Sublime Vernacular: The Landscape Paintings of Levine Flexhaug offers the first overview of the extraordinary career of Levine Flexhaug (1918 – 1974), born in the Treelon area near Climax, Saskatchewan. It brings together approximately 450 of the artist’s paintings as well as several of his mural-sized works. An itinerant painter, he sold thousands of variations of essentially the same landscape painting in national parks, resorts, department stores and bars across western Canada from the late 1930s through the early 1960s. Whatever its variation, a Flexhaug image represents a Western icon, a silent unspoiled Eden that encapsulates the conventions of sublime landscape painting in a kind of painter’s shorthand. For the Contemporary Art Gallery it continues a strand in our programming where we present work by artists who for a variety of reasons, operated outside of the strict mainstream of the art world.

Long valued by a core of contemporary artists and collectors, Flexhaug turned formula painting into a source of wonder, not only because he churned out paintings so quickly using an assembly line method but because these works are so aesthetically compelling. Indeed, the lushness, variety, intensity, luminosity, touch and authentic feeling of his paintings are arguably non pareil in this genre. Interestingly, he hit upon the exact image that a poll taken by the Russian artists Komar and Melamid in the 1990s, determined is what Canadians most want to see in art.

As engaging as they are aesthetically, Flexhaug’s paintings also offer a point of entry for consideration of significant critical questions ranging from issues of taste, originality versus repetition in art, the appeal of landscape and its iconography – particularly in the Canadian context – to whether art can have integrity as art even if it is unapologetically commercial. Another issue raised by an examination of Flexhaug’s oeuvre is desire. Collecting is by its nature an activity with obsessive tendencies, but the numbers accumulated by those who collect Flexhaugs provide a particular opportunity to analyse aspects of the powerful emotional bonds that exist for many people with art and aesthetic objects. In the case of Flexhaug, more is always more.

Painting for Flexhaug was a way to make a living without having a regular job and he took great satisfaction in both supporting his family and satisfying his customers. Tracing his life from his early years in southern Saskatchewan through the byways of his peripatetic career following the Depression also provides a unique perspective from which to consider early modern Western Canadian social history, from aspects of identity to particular forms of consumption and leisure and recreation.

Alongside the exhibition, in our reading room we also present Flexie! All the Same and All Different, a feature-length documentary made in association with A Sublime Vernacular: The Landscape Paintings of Levine Flexhaug by Calgary filmmakers Gary Burns and Donna Brunsdale. The film not only tells the story of a little known artist but in its investigation of how people respond to the paintings and what they mean to them, is also a fascinating reflection on both the nature of art and the meaning of place.

The exhibition is curated by Nancy Tousley and Peter White. A publication examining Flexhaug’s art and career, the critical issues they raise and the larger social and cultural history they represent accompanies the exhibition.

In collaboration with MacKenzie Art Gallery, Regina; Illingworth Kerr Gallery, Calgary; Art Gallery of Grande Prairie, Alberta; and Rodman Hall Art Centre, St. Catherines.

Exhibition is organized and circulated by the Art Gallery of Grande Prairie with support from the Museums Assistance Program of the Department of Canadian Heritage.

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Levine Flexhaug - A Sublime Vernacular: The Landscape Paintings


Song of the Open Road
Vikky Alexander, Robert Arndt, Gerard Byrne, Jacqueline Hoàng Nguyn, Kelly Jazvac, Kelly Lycan, Niamh O’Malley, Dawit L. Petros, Greg Staats, Lisa Tan
April 1 to June 18, 2017

B.C. Binning, Alvin Balkind Galleries, Events room, Window Spaces and off-site at Yaletown-Roundhouse Station, Canada line
Presented in partnership with Capture Photography Festival

“You road I enter upon and look around, I believe you are not all that is here,
I believe that much unseen is also here.

I believe you are latent with unseen existences, you are so dear to me.”
—Walt Whitman, “Song of the Open Road” (1856)

Taking its title from a poem by Walt Whitman, the Contemporary Art Gallery presents a group exhibition as the central feature of this year’s Capture Photography Festival. Work is presented both inside and outside and across all of the gallery’s spaces, embracing a diverse set of conditions and approaches centred in a conceptual understanding of an expanded field of photographic practice that examines notions of what you see is most definitely not what you get.

Bringing together artists from Canada, Eritrea, Ireland, Sweden, and the US, the exhibition includes works that combine thematically to interrogate ideas rooted in photographic histories, engaging ideas such as veracity, recollection, remembrance, belonging, staging, and how the image documents and records these or is evidence of differing realities.

Key to the exhibition is Images or shadows of divine things (2005–), an ongoing series by Irish artist Gerard Byrne. Visually rich and intellectually complex, the artist’s work in photography, film, theatre, and multiscreen installation examines the slippage between time and the act of image creation. Presented here, a selection of these black-and-white photographs seems to depict a much earlier period, evoking vernacular photographic idioms of American midcentury photography and thus pointing toward the relationship between time, appearance, and the photographic document. Through a collection of over twenty images, a sense emerges that the series has a certain scale of vision. However, it is more about picturing the historical “conditions” of image making than it is about riffing on an aesthetic. That sense of conditions emerges only once the particularity of the given images is surpassed—that is when it becomes obvious that the specifics of the images are not the point, this realization becoming palpable when a sufficient number of them are grouped together.

Robert Arndt’s activities search and reveal the means of accessing culture and history through the mediated forms of books, magazines and the Internet. Made for the exhibition, Remainders, Repeats and Rejects (2017) is characteristic in its investigation of production whereby documentation itself becomes the artwork. Alongside a large-scale photograph of the gallery wall on which it sits atop, Arndt’s work collects and conflates personal imagery with found and staged scenarios, highlighting the notion that documentation may be all that is required for an idea to exist and resonate. We imagine wide ranging connections, invent narratives and recognize links between images, all thoughts set in motion to create a diversity of potential meaning.

Recent work by Canadian artist Kelly Lycan includes installations based on Gallery 291, the iconic New York photography gallery opened by Alfred Stieglitz in 1905. These recreations are developed through sourcing images available online, in an attempt to uncover an understanding or experience of the space while drawing on simulations of the photographic illusion of this. Song of the Open Road features a new version of Nearby Nearby, 291 Burlap Walls (2015), composed of a series of images of the walls of Gallery 291 culled from Internet searches. Printed on paper, the work creates a pixelated arena of varicoloured white grounds, where it is as if each image is forensically being drawn from some depths to emerge on the paper’s surface.

As a contemporary of artists such as Richard Prince, James Welling and Sherrie Levine who were active in New York in the early 1980s, Vikky Alexander is often associated with the Pictures Generation. She is best known for work that foregrounds a strong interest in the histories of architecture, design, and fashion, often focusing on locations such as shopping malls, showrooms, and show apartments—sites of desire, aspirations, and ideas of home. The images are often complicated through light, reflections, and refractions and speak of a set of conditions and values embedded in appearances as seen through furnishings and the notional view from the window (here, a large-scale photo mural). Shown outdoors at Yaletown-Roundhouse Station, Model Suite (Sliding Door) (2005/17) interplays with its architectural surroundings; the station’s glass pavilion lends a further physical and visual layer as we see the daily activity on the street through the work itself.

Ambient Advertising (2016), installed across the CAG’s windows, is a reconfigured work by Toronto-based Kelly Jazvac. Salvaged billboard images that she has reframed, manipulated and cut through, seemingly in reference to a quintessential Canadian landscape, visually envelop the gallery at street level. Taken from contemporary advertising, the imagery appeals to our collective sense of identity through reference to the romantic and awesome natural world that surrounds us while questioning the feeding of desire as driven by contemporary consumer culture.

Alongside photographic work in a variety of processes, the exhibition also includes moving-image works. Sunsets (2012), by American artist Lisa Tan, combines literature and various historical and personal references to materially explore the intricate relationship between language, image, and experience. The video, filmed on the threshold between night and day, unfolds like a conversation. Seemingly inconsequential things pop up and take hold: a phone call interrupts, the sun starts to set, a stranger asks a question, translations are needed. The work narrates Tan’s engagement with enigmatic writers, with histories, technologies, and geographies that she knows, in order to mediate those that she doesn’t.

Concerned with issues of visibility and the slippage between a moment and an image, Irish artist Niamh O’Malley investigates the construction and arrangement of time and document as revealed through the moving image. Across two large-scale screens, the silent black-and-white video Glasshouse (2014) unfolds as a lengthy tracking shot. As the camera moves seamlessly from left to right along the glass panes, the natural idyll disappears here and there as the glass becomes more or less opaque. Through this O’Malley draws our attention to the process of looking, the camera seemingly attempting to locate and uncover meaning. Yet as images fragment, blocked by stained and broken glass, such efforts are thwarted, challenging our perception of what it is we are actually viewing and of how the images are constructed.

Born in Montreal and currently working in Stockholm, Jacqueline Hoàng Nguyễn investigates issues of historicity, collectivity, utopian politics, and multiculturalism, often revealing the unnoticed political relevance of seemingly trivial historical anecdotes by shedding light on stories overlooked, hidden, or deemed otherwise insignificant. Seizing Hold of a Memory as It Flashes Up (2010) is a blind embossing using the speech of twelve-year-old Severn Suzuki, daughter of Japanese Canadian science communicator and environmental activist David Suzuki, delivered at the 1992 Earth Summit. Suzuki and members of ECO, the Environmental Children’s Organization, raised the money to travel from Vancouver to Brazil so they could attend the United Nations Conference on Environment and Development in Rio de Janeiro. Here, Suzuki delivered her speech before 172 representatives of different countries, 108 heads of state, and some 2,400 NGO representatives; 17,000 of the people who attended the parallel NGO Global Forum had consultative status, resulting in a meeting that ultimately led to the Kyoto Protocol.

Toronto-based artist Greg Staats, Kanien’kehá:ka (b. Ohsweken, Six Nations of the Grand River Territory) whose works combine language, mnemonics and the natural world as an ongoing process of conceptualising a Haudenosaunee restorative aesthetic that defines the multiplicity of relationships with trauma and renewal. Staats addresses the systemic deficit of language—through personal and community archives and an intellectual and aesthetic interpretation of the body and ceremony. The installation untitled (objects of reciprocal thinking) (2014) combines both works from the beginning of the artist’s reflection of public and private within a Haudenosaunee linguistic and mnemonic continuum linked to place and recent works based on a reciprocal methodology. When at the edge of one’s condolence and within the liminal metaphysical space prior to renewal, there lies a hesitancy to move forward. While external and internal barriers must be overcome, the process must be completed with the help of others, both as witnesses and holders of the good mind. This ceremonial movement is comparable to moving from the darkness of the forest into the clearing where the light illuminates breath and one’s footing becomes clearer. The Mid-Winter (renewal) ceremony Gaihwayao:ni:, translated as “encouragement,” employs reciprocal gestures and words, repeatable to lifting up the mind after it has dropped down during condolence and/or post-trauma.

Chicago-based Canadian Eritean artist Dawit L. Petros similarly reflects through personal and cultural histories on ideas surrounding place making that are centred on a critical rereading of the relationship between African histories and European modernism. The book About the Author’s Journey from Ethiopia to Italy and about the Impressions Made on Him by His Stay in That Country in Tigrinya, by nineteenth-century writer Fesseha Giyorgis, was the first text published in the Tigrinya language (used in present-day Eritrea and Ethiopia). Using this as a guide, Petros undertook the journey from Ethiopia to Italy, his contemporary journey mirroring the historical passage across the Mediterranean Sea as well as the one undertaken by those currently fleeing to safety. When he arrived in Italy, the artist met a group of Eritrean migrants, with whom he made Untitled (2016), a collection of images with these individuals holding mirrors or archive materials in visual dialogue with the surrounding landscape. Viewed together, the photographs offer a metaphor-rich articulation of the fluidity of contemporary transnational experiences and attendant issues of cultural negotiation, speaking to how images and objects enable a sense of belonging or retrieval, both public and private.

We acknowledge the generous financial support of the following:

Vikky Alexander: Presented in partnership with the Canada Line Public Art Program—IntransitBC
Niamh O’Malley: Culture Ireland
Greg Staats: The Banff Centre, via a thematic residency program; the Ontario Arts Council, an agency of the Government of Ontario; and the Canada Council for the Arts/Conseil des arts du Canada
Lisa Tan: Iaspis, the Swedish Arts Grants Committee’s International Programme for Visual Artists

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Song of the Open Road


Join artist Derya Akay, Hayat Shabo and her daughter Carmen Aldakhlallah of Tayybeh as they explore Syrian cuisine

RSVP your ticket here: https://www.picatic.com/event14912617773169

Please note tickets are very limited.

Hayat Shabo, a chef originating from Damascus, and her daughter Carmen Aldakhlallah will discuss traditional Syrian dishes while demonstrating how to prepare kibbeh, minced meat, onion and bulgur balls.

All participants are welcome to try their hand at making kibbeh under Hayat’s guidance. Over the afternoon there will be opportunities to taste a range of Syrian recipes and share stories about food traditions.

This event is presented in collaboration with Tayybeh, a nascent organisation that aims to support Syrian women in Vancouver by organising community-based dining experiences. By showcasing beautiful and authentic dishes from their hometowns in Syria, the women of Tayybeh have access to an income and financial independence. Working together, they build connections with other women and interact with the communities they live in. All while doing something they love: cooking.

The word “tayybeh” in Arabic is the feminine construction that means “kind”, and in the colloquial Levantine dialect means “delicious.”

The Contemporary Art Gallery welcomes Vancouver-based artist Derya Akay as the CAG Burrard Marina Field House resident this spring. Expanding on recent projects, Akay is collaborating with women elders from a range of cultural backgrounds to explore and share local and diasporic culinary traditions through a series of workshops and meals. This convivial partaking of food is a gateway to oral history, which Akay understands as both storytelling and the sensations and memories summoned through communal eating.

About the Burrard Marina Field House
Throughout 2017 CAG is hosting a series of artists-in-residence, each working toward participatory projects to be realised throughout 2017–2019. The Field House Studio is an off-site artist residency space and community hub organised by CAG. This program moves beyond conventional exhibition making, echoing the founding origins of the gallery where artists were offered support toward the production of new work while reaching out to communities and offering new ways for individuals to encounter, participate and connect with art and artists.

The Field House Studio Residency Program is generously supported by Vancouver Park Board and the City of Vancouver, along with many private and individual donors. Please visit our website for a full list of supporters. For further details about the program, all forthcoming residencies and associated events visit our website at www.contemporaryartgallery.ca and the Field House blog at www.burrardmarinafieldhouse.blog

For 2016–2019 we acknowledge the generous support of the Field House Studio Residency Program by the Vancouver Foundation

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Derya Akay and Tayybeh explore Syrian cuisine


Curator tour
Saturday, April 22, 3pm
Join us for a guided tour of the exhibition Song of the Open Road.

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Curatorial tour with Kimberly Phillips


On the last Saturday of each month, the CAG invites all ages to drop-in for short exhibition tours and free art-making activities that respond to our current exhibitions.

Saturday, May 27, 12-3pm
Through the Window
Inspired by the work of Niamh O’Malley’s Glass House, take photographs through a variety of textured windows to create different light, colour and texture effects.

We acknowledge the generous support of the Peter Szeto Investment Group for our Family Day program.

Presented in collaboration with ArtStarts on Saturdays. For more details visit: www.artstarts.com/weekend

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Family Art Day | Through the Window


Free Family Days at the CAG
On the last Saturday of each month, the CAG invites all ages to drop-in for short exhibition tours and free art-making activities that respond to our current exhibitions.

Saturday, April 29, 12-3pm
Moving Images
Inspired by Kelly Jazvac’s work create an installation by cutting and arranging strips of colourful vinyl.

We acknowledge the generous support of the Peter Szeto Investment Group for our Family Day program.

For more details regarding these and all public programs at the Contemporary Art Gallery visit the events page at
www.contemporaryartgallery.ca

Presented in collaboration with ArtStarts on Saturdays. For more details visit: www.artstarts.com/weekend

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Family Art Day | Moving Images


Guadalupe Martinez
Sunday, April 9, 3pm
Join local artist Guadalupe Martinez for a tour of the current exhibitions in Spanish.

Guided visits are open to the public, providing free opportunities to engage with exhibitions and develop new skills for interpreting contemporary art. We also encourage visits from primary and secondary schools, ESL groups, university and college students and community groups. For more information or to book a guided visit for your group, contact learning@contemporaryartgallery.ca or telephone 604 681 2700.

 

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Guadalupe Martinez | Tour in Spanish


First Thursday every month with Maddy Tranter
April 6, May 4 and June 1, 12.15–12.45pm
Join CAG Visitor Coordinator Maddy Tranter for a midday tour of current exhibitions.

 

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Lunch time tours


Assistant Curator, Jas Lally 0ffers an evening behind the scenes guided tour of the current exhibition, ‘Song of the Open Road’.

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Jas Lally | Curatorial behind the scenes tour


Last Sunday of every month with Jocelyn Statia
April 30 and May 28, 3pm
Join CAG Visitor Coordinator, Jocelyn Statia for a tour of the current exhibitions.

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Jocelyn Statia | Sunday afternoon tour of the exhibitions


Nigel Prince
Saturday, June 17, 3pm
Join CAG Director, Nigel Prince for a guided tour of the exhibition Song of the Open Road on its closing weekend.

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Curatorial tour with Nigel Prince


Kay Slater
Sunday, May 7, 3pm
Join artist Kay Slater for a guided tour of the exhibitions in French.

 

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Kay Slater | Tour in French


Tommy Ting

Sunday, April 23, 3pm
Join artist Tommy Ting for a tour of the current exhibitions in Mandarin.

Guided visits are open to the public, providing free opportunities to engage with exhibitions and develop new skills for interpreting contemporary art. We also encourage visits from primary and secondary schools, ESL groups, university and college students and community groups. For more information or to book a guided visit for your group, contact learning@contemporaryartgallery.ca or telephone 604 681 2700.

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Tommy Ting | Tour in Mandarin


View the catalogue for the 28th Annual Gala & Art Auction.

Click here to view.

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28th Annual Gala & Art Auction - Catalogue


Inside Out: Studio, Gallery, Street
Open call: Visual Art Summer Youth Intensive
Arts Umbrella, Contemporary Art Gallery and SFU collaboration
August 8 to 26, 2016

Inside Out: Studio, Gallery, Street is a three week visual arts intensive speci cally designed for youth between the age of 14 and 19 interested in developing their visual art practice.

It will provide a stimulating and challenging experience for young artists committed to experimentation and pushing the boundaries of their own art making in a supportive studio environment.

Youth will have the opportunity to work with leading artists, curators and educators in Vancouver as they explore and produce a range of contemporary art practices such as the context-speci c installation, large-scale collaborative sculptures and exhibition making. Participants will engage in critiques and discussions about developing ideas, working with materials and viewing works of art.

The program will culminate in a one-day exhibition at CAG.

Application Deadline: Monday, June 6, 2016 for accepting applications. Space is limited, please apply soon. The fee for the intensive is $480.00.

Application forms are available at http://www.artsumbrella.com/vasi

For more information about the program, please contact: Holly Schmidt, Assistant Curator at h.schmidt@ contemporaryartgallery.ca

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Inside Out: Studio, Gallery, Street Open call: Visual Art Summer Youth Intensive


Nathan Crompton hosted by Raymond Boisjoly
Burrard Marina Field House
Saturday September 28, 4 pm

This year marks 100 years since the dispossession of the Kitsilano Reserve, a year the city of Vancouver has also declared  the Year of Reconciliation.

Local writers Nathan Crompton and Maria Wallstam wrote an article in The Mainlander called City of perpetual displacement: 100 years since the destruction of the Kitsilano Reserve in July of this year. It explores the relationship between the rampant gentrification of the DTES & Grandview-Woodlands, and the colonial settlers’ unjust treatment of indigenous populations in the early 20th century. The article piqued the interest of our current Burrard Marina Field House artist in residence, Raymond Boisjoly, who identified that the Kitsilano Reserve discussed in the article is located in the exact same spot as the Burrard Marina Field House (1655 Whyte Avenue) where he’s been working for nearly six months. Throughout his residency at the Field House Boisjoly has been interested in the history of the land the Marina sits on. Crompton’s research and response to the dispossession of the Kits reserve aligns it with the current rash of forced evictions of low income residents in the DTES. A link can be drawn between Boisjoly and Crompton through their evocation of histories as a way to engage urgent current dialogues in the community.

For more detailed maps and history of the Kitsilano Indian Reserve lands go to UBC’s Indigenous foundations online mapping tool http://indigenousfoundations.arts.ubc.ca/home/land-rights/mapping-tool-kitsilano-reserve.html.

– More of Jaclyn’s writing can be found here, and her tweets over here.

Raymond Boisjoly is currently the artist-in-residence at the CAG Field House at Burrard Marina. The Field House Studio Residency Program is generously supported by the Vancouver Park Board and the City of Vancouver. The inaugural residency with Raymond Boisjoly is supported by the Province of British Columbia through the Ministry of Advanced Education, Innovation and Technology.

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Nathan Crompton talk at the Burrard Marina Field House


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