"I am 22 and I lost 22 people" exhibition by Palestinian artist

Palestinian artist Zainab al-Qoulaq, who lost 22 family members in the Israeli bombings in Gaza last May held an exhibition called, “I am 22 and I lost 22 people” in the Gaza Strip.

Gaza- The “I am 22 and I lost 22 people,” exhibition was organized in the Gaza Strip by the Euro-Mediterranean Human Rights Monitor in cooperation with the UN Women Palestine. Artist Zainab al-Qoulaq attended the exhibition with her nine paintings showing the visitors her trauma from the large-scale Israeli bombings on the Palestinian enclave last May.
She wanted to give a message via art
In the interview we conducted with her, Zainab al-Qoulaq told us that she used grey tones in her paintings to reflect her tragedy and the suffering of losing her family members. Adding that she wants to give a message to the world with her paintings, she said, “The occupation violates the international laws and targets civilians.” Speaking about the moment she was trapped under the rubble of their house, she said, “I was worried about my family because I didn’t know what happened to them.” After being rescued, she learnt that she had lost her family members. “In my paintings, I want to express the pain, fear and horror I lived through under the rubble.”

The exhibition focused on the story of Zainab al-Qoulaq
Maha Hussaini, an official of the Euro-Mediterranean Human Rights Monitor in the Palestinian territory, told us that the exhibition focused on the story of Zainab al-Qoulaq, who lost her 22 family members in the Israeli bombings in Gaza in May 2021 and had been trapped under the rubble for about 12 hours before being rescued. “The paintings displayed at the exhibition show the pain of the hundreds of thousands of women, children and girls during the systematic military offensive launched by the Israeli forces,” Maha Hussaini said, adding that the exhibition is important to show the pain and feelings of women to the whole world.

Art critic Kholoud Al-Aklouk expressed her admiration for the displayed paintings, as well as for Zainab Al-Qulaq's determination by using her art to overcome her tragedy. She told us that she felt the pain in the paintings.

Before and after the bombings
Lina Al-Jaafrawi, a friend of Zainab al-Qoulaq, expressed the difference in Zainab al-Qoulaq’s paintings before and after the Israeli bombings. “Her paintings before the bombings contain more colors but now they contain dark colors,” she told us.