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Facebook believes in the idea of creativity which is why as a company it is dedicated to empower the community and bring together people for collective wellbeing via Facebook Open Arts.

“Within our walls and around the globe, Facebook Open Arts cultivates creative engagements that offer new ways of thinking about ourselves, our communities, and the world at large.” says Facebook.

Now, for the past few months, Facebook Open Arts and Messenger have been working together with an exemplary group of artists around the world to curate “custom 360 backgrounds for Messenger Rooms and video calling.” Messenger says that they are “thrilled to be able to continue collaborating with these innovators and to be a part of the creativity they bring to their communities.”

In this creatively empowering collaboration, the fifth artist for this time in their series is Ralph Pugay, a Portland-based Filipino-American visual artist who paints and draws bizarre fantasy worlds that question cultural norms and ideas. For this series, Ralph Pugay has created Morning Yoga at the Tropical Retreat. His creation is inspired by the isolation and human body movement caused by the pandemic. 

Facebook Open Arts
Source: Messenger

With this 360 background Ralph aims to encourage people to pay closer attention to their bodies and to be more compassionate with one another. “I love being in a field where slowing down, observing, and feeling through while thinking through is supported,” says Ralph. “I like making space for everything I have absorbed through my life to make it into the world I am creating.

Ralph’s 360 background for Messenger is a result of Ralph channeling his own feelings about the pandemic into the art. “I created a 3D environment where people are ecstatically moving in space, amidst one another,” says Ralph. “It felt like something that I wanted, given the constraints of the pandemic.

Open Arts Curator Tamar Benzikry says, “Ralph used this collaborative project to create something both personal and universal. The yoga poses in a tropical setting that reminded him of the Philippines also carried significance relating to COVID-19. We’re happy to see Ralph’s originality come to life in this digital setting.”

Steps to access Ralph’s background:

  • Start a video call in Messenger or create a Messenger Room.
  • Tap the effects icon on self view.
  • Select “backgrounds.”