It is probably one of the first thoughts that your conscience confronts you with when, as a child, you begin to see scenes around you so distant yet so belonging to your reality. Thoughts on how a person’s fate is so closely linked to their place of birth, and how this affects one’s ability to make choices going beyond the need to survive. How much suffering some faces can contain, how much strength and courage to leave behind the hell they come from and face the one they have achieved — one step away from death. They’re parallel universes that you would gladly do without, but which you will get used to over time, by just walking past without any question or answer.
A man, Uğur Gallenkuş, digital artist in Istanbul, Turkey, chose to show both universes — yours and theirs — by matching them, in order to make the paradox of their very existence on the same planet even more evident. His collages conscientiously address the widening global divide between the privileged and oppressed, weaving together misery and mirth, wealth and poverty and love and despair. In the spotlight, the victims par excellence, the children, hungry, dying, and abused. They might be not our children, but now it is not only the problem of the developing countries, it is just by our doorsteps too.
What started back in 2015 as a spontaneous reaction to the disturbing image of Aylan Kurdi — a three-year-old Syrian boy whose body washed-up on the shore of the Mediterranean Sea —eventually grew into an ongoing series of brutally honest work. The series by Gallenkuş takes an unflinching look at the highly polarized world we live in. Uğur is also a business-school graduate who was leading an ordinary life when tragedy struck in Syria.
“I would like to remind the residents of developed countries that people in underdeveloped countries live in pain, hunger, and war. I want to remind the people of underdeveloped countries that they deserve better government, education, or science, while assuring them that they have every right to be as strong and peaceful as those in developed countries.”