Conversation at heART Philippines: Creating connection on walls 

As part of the Conversation at heART program, local artist Kris Abrego created murals in the brandnew Foundever™ hub in Cebu, Philippines.

Published ·June 8, 2023

Reading time·3 min

When you step into the newly opened Foundever™ hub in Cebu City, Philippines, you feel a change in you right away. Your face relaxes. You stand taller. You feel your energy replenishing. That’s what our hubs do to you – they are designed to engage. 

It’s probably also the effect of the mural. At the entrance to the recruitment center on the ground floor, a wall has been turned into a cubist mural resembling a multicolored woven mat, bursting with shades of blue and purple and accentuated with touches of pink, yellow, and green. Among the intersecting squares and triangles, you can recognize the silhouette of a warrior.  

Two similar murals can be found on the other floors occupied by Foundever: one in the cafeteria on the sixth floor; another one in the library on the seventh floor. They represent simplified plants and people’s profiles that bring to mind paper cutouts. 

Associates in the hub will instantly recognize these objects that are part of their everyday lives. The warrior in the mural at the reception is Lapulapu, national hero from the early Hispanic times whose 20-meter monument can be found in nearby Lapu-Lapu City. 

The paintings are by Kris Abrigo, a local artist who was commissioned for this first Conversation at heART piece in the Philippines. Abrigo says he deliberately chose objects familiar to associates, while casting them in a new light. “For me, it’s very important that the associates have something they can closely relate to,” he explains. “They spend most of their time in the office, so I want them to recognize themselves in the artwork.”  

Conversation piece 

By integrating art into its hubs, Foundever wants to encourage conversations about art, identity, history and other meaningful topics. This is the main objective of the Conversations at heART program, a global initiative that aims to inspire, connect and empower associates by promoting creativity and making them take ownership of art in the spaces in which they work.

Since its launch in 2021, the program has commissioned artwork in six Foundever hubs across the world: France, Brazil, Portugal, Greece, Colombia, and the Philippines. The Cebu hub mural is the first-ever in the Asia-Pacific region. 

Creativity and collaboration 

While many artists isolate themselves from the world until the artwork is finished, Abrigo believes it is important to remain part of the city’s hustle and bustle. When creating the murals, he would go outside and paint with other local artists during his breaks. This made him feel that he was not creating the mural on his own, but with the help and inspiration from an entire community. “This collaboration put things into perspective for me and made my artwork more grounded and relatable to the people I created it for.” 

His immersion in everyday life throughout the project period probably explains the energy emanating from the murals. Walls usually divide and close off, but with Abrigo’s creativity and commitment to his craft and community, he turned the walls of the Foundever hub in Cebu into a beautiful way of creating connections.