Istanbul-based artist Uğur Gallenkuş uses photo collages as a powerful way to showcase the differences in the world. Placing disparate photojournalism images side-by-side, he fuses them into singular compositions that highlight problems across the globe, with a focus on the Western world and the Middle East.
“These problems are war-conflicts, socio-economic problems, environmental disasters, women's and children's rights,” Gallenkuş tells My Modern Met. “All of the photos in my works are news photos of real events. Not all of us can understand the events we see in the news and the experiences of the people who have been exposed to these events.”
By placing photos next to each other, the contrasts remind us that there are other people out there who live totally different lives than us. “I am doing these studies with the aim of raising awareness so that people can empathize more with this problem and take action to solve that problem,” Gallenkuş explains. “We can be the people who are exposed to these problems or the people we love, or I make people show these problems by using different figures in our lives with my work.”
The digital collage artist is no stranger to My Modern Met. We’ve featured his thought-provoking works in the past, and he’s been prolific in his quest to encourage social change. Gallenkuş has released a book titled Parallel Universes of Children which highlights the inequalities and crises that many children face today.
Gallenkuş shares: “This book aims to draw attention to the fact that an average of 100K children die every year due to wars and conflicts, that children do not have access to adequate education and health services, and that children are used as child laborers, child soldiers, and child sex slaves. These things I'm talking about are terrible things. But in the other half of our world, these problems exist. We cannot achieve successful results in solving or minimizing these problems if we do not create empathy and awareness of these problems.”
Parallel Universes of Children is now available on Gallenkuş’ website.