Narine Arakelian uses Instagram as a digital canvas during the Coronavirus pandemic

words Alexa Wang

With face masks in high demand, many are doing their part to help. But no one does it like artist Narine Arakelian. She has created an Instagram filter to help spread positivity and awareness during the COVID-19 pandemic

The filter is a gold medical mask with the words of affirmation “Love & Hope” surrounding the mask. Gorgeous geometric circles extend from the mask, and gold decorates one’s eyebrows and eyelashes. The filter is found under the name “LOVE AND HOPE” as well as her Instagram handle, @narinearakelianofficial.

If you look at this as just one Instagram filter, the project seems simple but if you look at the broader scope of what Narine is communicating through the filter you see that it’s part of a much bigger movement. Looking at our global culture, where social media has become an important part of our lives, this is a brilliant move. Instagram, a platform where billions of people around the world express themselves, is the perfect place to spread awareness of wearing a mask during the pandemic we are all experiencing today. Narine did a great job designing this unique mask filter, a piece of Art and an effective tool to promote wearing masks for the health of the wearer as well as people around them.

Narine’s greater cause shines through her Instagram filter. In spreading positivity and awareness, she set up a personal campaign to donate masks every time a celebrity posts a selfie using the filter. Spreading her Art through Instagram and AR digital artwork is a way Narine helps others. Raising money allows her to donate as many masks as possible to disburse to those who truly need personal protection equipment to keep themselves and others safe.

Celebrities are influencers. They have many followers, who do not hesitate to imitate what their idols do. Narine and celebrities may not be working together directly. However, her campaign to donate masks whenever a celebrity posts her Instagram filter is pretty close. It is much easier to spread the idea of wearing a mask to more people.

To understand the greater meaning of what Narine is communicating through her Unique Instagram Filter Digital Artwork we turn to Richard Wearn, Professor of Art California State University, Los Angeles, Narine’s work may be understood and defined in terms of “Empathy Aesthetics” of the Altermoden Era.

He explains, “She is utilizing the various platforms including social-media that arguably result in alienation as a means to promote empathy. She is a virus in the system attempting to reverse an outcome. Her work also speaks to the way we use attributes as a sign of reference when it is not. Think of the function of an app on a touch screen. Tinder = intimacy/sex, Google = knowledge, etc, any object notion has been removed. We are left with attribute recognition through an app. We request and something turns up. The dynamic in the recent work by Narine may be defined in a similar way. The artist is negotiating through text and imagery a new sensibility and message to humanity that is not transactional. Narine gifts through social media which works against transactions, which is built into the model of digital life.”

It’s incredible to see how one person’s small effort causes a ripple effect. If, at least, one of ten followers copies what their beloved celebrity does by wearing a mask, it will create a lasting effect. If the Instagram filter trends and goes viral, it could extend the campaign’s reach. The global effect is no longer impossible. This is how a culture of wearing masks could be created.

Narine’s project has quickly gained traction. Celebrities like AnnaLynne McCord (90210), Kristin Bauer (True Blood, Once Upon a Time), Sofia Milos (CSI Miami), Briana Evigan (Step Up 2, 4, 5), Ellie Mumin and Tiffany Brouwer (Vanderpump Rules), Markus Molinari (Socialite), Courtenay Semel (Keeping Up with the Kardashians), Ruth Connell (Supernatural) and Shannon K (influencer) have already posted the mask.

As Narine continues to donate masks and support essential workers, she gives everyone hope that getting involved will lead to positive change.

Mask supplies are already low. With the pandemic influencing purchase habits, healthcare workers are struggling to get the protective gear they need. With Narine’s campaign and homemade masks, not only are we doing ourselves a favor, but we’re in turn supporting our healthcare workers who continue to work every day as our superheroes.

Since the World Health Organization requires everyone to wear masks for necessary trips outside, even for simple outings like going for walks, we all need them. However, masks are not always easy to come by. For Narine to make it a personal mission, holding the belief that everyone deserves access, she continues to do her part in making that possible. Now, it’s up to us to follow what Narine did. If we can spread awareness about the importance of wearing masks, our efforts will improve the overall health of modern people as well as our survival chance against the pandemic.

To use Narine’s filter, search #LoveXXL360 or @narinearakelianofficial on Instagram.

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