Hatem El Mekki


Stamp of Tunisia with the portrait of Hatem El MekkiHatem El Mekki (1918-2003) was one of the most important Tunisian painters and designers. Starting in the 1950s, he became one of the forerunners in Tunisian art, with followers across Africa and the Arab world.


Born in Batavia (Netherlands Indies, now Jakarta, Indonesia) to a refugee Tunisian father and an Indonesian mother, he didn't see Tunisia until after a long voyage in 1924. He got noticed for his artistic skills and got scholarships to study at the Lycée Carnot in Tunis and schools in Lyon and Paris (France).


Stamp from the United Nations New York designed by El MekkiHis work as an artist did not stop him from engaging in political activities. During the Tunisian struggle for independence he made political caricatures and cartoons under the pseudonym Mahmoud. He was influenced by many different forms of art, such as the Indonesian batik and figurative art. He developed his style to please his European clientele and later on independent Tunisia.


He started designing postage stamps in 1957 and continued until 1995, with more than 450 stamps to his name. He designed many stamps for Tunisia, but also one for the United Nations. For Tunisia he also designed coins and bank notes.





Biography of Hatem El Mekki in Wikipedia (in French).



Stamp catalogue


Tunisia                               18 December 2004



Stamp catalogue - Tunisian UN stamps designed by Hatem El Mekki


Inauguration of UNESCO Headquarters, Paris                                                                3 November 1958

United Nations Day                                                                                                     24 October 1959

World Refugee Year                                                                                                    7 April 1960

5th World Forestry Congress, Seattle                                                                           29 August 1960

United Nations Day                                                                                                     24 October 1960


United Nations Day / Dag Hammarskjöld                                                                      24 October 1961

The World United Against Malaria                                                                                7 April 1962

Freedom from Hunger Campaign                                                                                 21 March 1963

Universal Declaration of Human Rights 15th anniversary                                               10 December 1963

Save the Monuments of Nubia                                                                                     8 March 1964


World Meteorological Day                                                                                            23 March 1964

ITU Centenary                                                                                                            17 May 1965

International Co-operation Year                                                                                   24 October 1965

United Nations Regional Cartographic Conference for Africa                                          12 September 1966

UNESCO 20th anniversary                                                                                            4 November 1966


WHO 20th anniversary                                                                                                7 April 1968

ILO 50th anniversary                                                                                                   1 May 1969

Inauguration of UPU Headquarters, Berne                                                                     20 May 1970

UNO 25th anniversary                                                                                                 24 October 1970

Save Venice                                                                                                                7 February 1972


World Health Day 1972 - Your heart is your health                                                         7 April 1972

World Food Programme 10th anniversary                                                                     26 April 1973

Save Carthage                                                                                                            6 May 1973

Universal Declaration of Human Rights 25th anniversary                                               10 December 1973

UPU Centenary                                                                                                            9 October 1974


World Health Day 1976 - Foresight prevents blindness                                                   7 April 1976

Habitat: United Nations Conference on Human Settlements, Vancouver                         31 May 1976

International Anti-Apartheid Year                                                                                30 August 1978

World Health Day 1980 - Smoking or health - the choice is yours                                    7 April 1980

World Tourism Conference, Manila                                                                              27 September 1980


Heinrich von Stephan 150th anniversary                                                                       27 September 1981

World Food Day                                                                                                          16 October 1982

International Day of Solidarity with the Palestinian People                                             29 November 1982

Convention Concerning the Protection of the World Cultural and Natural Heritage           14 September 1984

Consultative Council for Postal Studies 30th anniversary                                               9 October 1987


Universal Declaration of Human Rights 40th anniversary                                               10 December 1988

Human Rights Day                                                                                                      10 December 1991

Regional Meeting for Africa of the World Conference on Human Rights                          2 November 1992

International Conference on Nutrition, Rome                                                                15 December 1992

World Conference on Human Rights, Vienna                                                                 8 June 1993


Pasteur Institute of Tunis, Tunis                                                                                 12 October 1993









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last revised: 1 March 2010