Aftermath of the deadly earthquake in Antakya, Turkey
The aftermath of the deadly earthquake in Antakya, Turkey. Reuters

Uğur Gallenkuş is a collage artist based in Istanbul, Turkey. The artist combines stock images of the peaceful West and juxtaposes them with images taken of war-torn countries. Uğur Gallenkuş uses his collages to show "the stark realities of two worlds we live in".

Uğur Gallenkuş noted that he uses his digital collages to "conscientiously address the widening global divide between the privileged and oppressed, weaving together misery and mirth, wealth and poverty and love and despair".

Uğur Gallenkuş's work is displayed in a slideshow.

He started his journey as an artist in 2015 after the photo of Aylan Kurdi went viral.

Aylan Kurdi was a 3-year-old boy and one of the groups of people from Syria who drowned while attempting to flee the Syrian Civil War. His body was found, washed up on the shore of Bodrum, in Turkey.

Images of Aylan Kurdi being carried off out of the shoreline by a Turkish Police Officer went viral and made for a dramatic upturn in international concern over the Syrian Refugee Crisis.

Uğur Gallenkuş described his reaction to the heart-breaking image, "Aylan Kurdi, [a] 3-year-old child, one of the thousands of people who drowned crossing the Aegean Sea on the news."

"I created my first work with the effect that photo had on me," he added.

His first piece of work was the start of his movement to illuminate a "parallel world". His first collage included the stock image of a white sand beach. On the sand, is a brightly coloured bucket and spade. Uğur Gallenkuş layered the cropped image of Aylan Kurdi so that the final image depicted the young child laying in the sand next to the toys.

Uğur Gallenkuş believes that "an image can sometimes be more effective than a thousand words".

"Many complicated words can describe the solution to a crisis, but you don't need to know a language to read and understand a work of art," he concluded.

In 2019, the United Nations Development Program used Uğur Gallenkuş's work to promote its Global Goals campaign. Soon after, in 2020, The UN used Uğur Gallenkuş's collages to publicise the UN Sustainable Development Goals Action Campaign.

In 2020, with respect to World Children's Day, Uğur Gallenkuş published his first book: 'Parallel Universes of Children'.

Each page in the book displays a different collage that represents the rights of children, together with written content about the lived experiences of children across the globe.

Uğur Gallenkuş work for WHO regarding the earthquakes that devastated Syria and Turkey.

Uğur Gallenkuş's most recent work was in collaboration with the World Health Organisation's Foundation (WHO Foundation) after the earthquakes that devastated both Türkiye and the Syrian Arab Republic claimed almost 50,000 lives.

The collaboration struck out to support those affected by the earthquakes, by encouraging people to donate to the Emergency Earthquake Appeal and by raising awareness of the life-saving humanitarian aid that the World Health Organisation were providing.

Uğur Gallenkuş explained: "Access to health services and supplies should be a basic human right, no matter the circumstances one lives in. This is why my work with the WHO Foundation is not limited to raising awareness of the health impacts related to earthquakes in Türkiye and the Syrian Arab Republic."

Uğur Gallenkuş works for WHO regarding the humanitarian crises in The Horn of Africa and the Sahel regions.

Speaking of his previous collages, Uğur Gallenkuş noted: "I have also worked with the Foundation to create collages depicting the health crisis caused by the conflict in Ukraine and the humanitarian crisis caused by widespread droughts and flooding in the greater Horn of Africa and the Sahel regions."

Uğur Gallenkuş revealed that he views his art as "a powerful method to connect people, bring them closer to stories they otherwise would not know much about and start meaningful conversations – this makes it a special tool to raise awareness of global issues, especially in times of crisis."