Creative Women & Projects

Journalist, Queen of Charts and Illustrator of Numbers, Mona Chalabi

By April 10, 2019 No Comments

Mona Chalabi is the queen of charts and graphs! She takes information that you probably will get drowned in, be bored to death about and turns them into visual mindscapes. And she knows how to spoof them in ways that are both jarring (so you’ll get how important the information is) and humorous at the same time. She is what we like to call the dope packager of information.
Mona Chalabi describes herself as ‘a journalist who really loves numbers and translates spreadsheets into written pieces, illustrations, audio, and film’

What we especially love about her work is the way she balances brilliant titles, visual cues, and crazy information in bites that are understandable. Like when she illustrated this overlap of people who have depression and anxiety in subsets.

Or when she used the ‘inability to reach the top’ visual figurative expression to depict rising global sea levels. One thing is sure, Mona Chalabi is a genius and we are super-glad we found her work.


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Do you know what colorism is? It’s the kitchen staff who are darker than the people out front waiting tables. It’s my family members hoping their kids will be light-skinned. And it’s here, in the US school system. Using data from The National Longitudinal Survey of Youth, US sociologists found a clear correlation between how dark a student’s skin is and the probability that they would be suspended. I found this part of the study important: “The disadvantage for darker-skinned young men derives from their link to a disfavored group (criminals) in an analogous way that the disadvantage for young women does (unfeminine and unattractive).” The researchers note that there’s a lot of discretion when it comes to how the school system punishes small offenses (like talking loudly) and darker skinned pupils suffer disproportionately. They note that future research should look at Hispanic communities too (I would add all poc communities to that list!) Source: Lance Hannon et al, Race and Social Problems, 2013 The Guardian has a special series all this week on colorism edited by Dream McClinton that I highly recommend!

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Mona Chalabi’s illustrations, which depict everything from immigrant detention to balding patterns, have been commended by the Royal Statistical Society.
She started writing about statistics after analyzing large data sets at the Bank of England, Transparency International and the International Organization for Migration. She is contributing Data Editor at The Guardian.

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