On February 6, a 6.4-magnitude earthquake ripped through parts of southern Turkey and northern Syria, killing tens of thousands and leaving many more homeless. Two weeks later, a second earthquake hit the Turkish province of Hatay, bringing the death toll to over 46,000 across both countries.
Responding to the urgent need for humanitarian aid in the region, five visual artists with personal connections to Turkey have launched a photo print sale to support earthquake victims in Turkey and Syria. Partnering with the US-based community foundation Turkish Philanthropy Funds, Six.Two Editions will donate the net proceeds from the sale to vetted, non-governmental organizations. Over 200 photographs by artists including Diana Markosian, Joel Sternfeld, and Vanessa Winship, among others, are for sale for $150 through March 20.
Artists and organizers Civan Özkanoğlu, Devin Yalkin, Ebru Yıldız, Mitchell King, and Yeliz Secerli felt called to do their part to assist earthquake victims. Previous campaigns like Pictures for Elmhurst, which raised money for the Queens, New York hospital during spring 2020, and States of Change, which fundraised to help combat voter suppression in swing states during the 2020 presidential election, inspired the organizers to involve the photographic community in earthquake relief efforts.
Six.Two Editions’s organizers told Hyperallergic they initially planned a modest fundraiser, but their event grew in scope.
“An initial sense of powerlessness quickly turned to the realization that many artists were willing to help and wholeheartedly said yes when we brought up the initiative,” they said. As of March 13, they’ve already raised $100,000.
The United Nations reports that as of March 6, around 9.1 million people have been affected by the earthquakes and subsequent damage. Rescue efforts have largely struggled as aid agencies and governments combat winter conditions and wrecked infrastructure to transport necessary supplies. The situation is particularly precarious in Syria, a country already devastated by a 12-year civil war.
Organizers will send proceeds from the ten-day benefit to five Turkish organizations (Ahbap Association, Ali İsmail Korkmaz Vakfı (Alikev), Darüşşafaka Society, Kırkayak Kültür, and Purple Solidarity). The group also hopes to confirm five Syrian NGOs (Baytna Syria, Women Now For Development, White Helmets (the Syria Civil Defense), the Association for Migration Research, and Basmeh & Zeitooneh).