HATEM EL MEKKI, Tunisia (1918 - 2003)
Born in 1918 in Batavia, the former name of Jakarta, Indonesia, to a Tunisian father and an Indonesian mother, Hatem El Mekki visited his father’s homeland for the first time in 1924 and stayed there. He pursued his education at lycée Carnot in Tunis before the government granted him a scholarship to study in Paris, where he resided at the Cité Internationale des Arts during the 1930s. The artist settled in Tunis in 1951 and started developing his style. El Mekki is an artist who lived multiple historical events that marked his memory and vision of life. He would create a unique style combining his formal artistic training with the art of ‘batik’ – Indonesian printing technique on cloths – to represent what he experienced. With abstracted forms and implicated lines, he applied warm colors to make the scenes intense and sometimes severe. His work revealed hard times like French colonization portraying particular attention to the expressions of the characters. Hatem El Mekki passed away in 2003 in Carthage, Tunisia.
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