Uğur Gallenkuş is an Istanbul-based digital artist of world renown. 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. By taking an unflinching look at the realities that surround us through his art, Gallenkuş aims to make a difference in how we understand the lives of others.
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.
Today, Gallenkuş is best known as the artist behind these digital collages, informed by global crises and social disparities. He is also a business-school graduate who was leading an ordinary life when tragedy struck in Syria. He learned how to manipulate digital images because he wanted tools to respond to what he witnessed, teaching himself through online tutorials and trial and error. Thus, a white-collar worker by day turned into a self-taught digital artist by night. Gallenkuş cannot fully explain why his artistic side emerged and matured so suddenly—it all happened as if by divine design. He saw clearly how to begin a unique conversation that brought two seemingly opposite realities together, and he felt it was his purpose to follow this vision.
Born in 1990 in Niğde, Gallenkuş completed his primary and secondary education in Istanbul. In 2013, he graduated from Anadolu University's Department of Business Administration. After graduating, he took on various roles in the business sphere, including managing an e-commerce site for a private company. Now he lives in Istanbul, focusing on his art practice and honing his skills as a photographer, in order to exercise even more control over the images he crafts in the future.
"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." Ugur Gallenkus