Data journalist and illustrator Mona Chalabi has released a print series about nature, commissioned by Absolut Art for Earth Day, that aims to bring “some reprieve from the troubling news that constantly bombards”.
The series, entitled Numbers to Help You Breathe is a set of three illustrations depicting patterns and statistics from the natural world: the timing of a sea wave, the amount of lovebirds that learn to fly each day, and the rotation of the earth.
Mona Chalabi aims to present data in a way that, as she says, is “as joyous as possible,” even when presenting challenging subjects. For the Earth Day project, she specifically created a set of drawings that look to unchanging facts from the natural world like the behaviour of birds, the movement of ocean waves, and the rotation of the Earth.
She said: “It’s precisely because everything is changing so much day-to-day,“that I wanted to look for the constants. It’s not to make you happy exactly, but to provide some comfort as an antidote to the anxiety induced by the world all around us.”
Undulation shows life under the ocean, annotated with the statement: “In the time it takes you to read this, a gentle sea wave has crested twice,” the type set in a wave form to denote the fact itself. “Tides caused by the gravitational pull of the moon and the sun are one of the most reliable phenomena in the world,” Mona Chalabi explains. “When wind speeds are low, the rise and fall of sea waves become faster. So a gentle sea wave will happen more frequently than a stormy one.”
Avigation is a collaged chart showing 140 lovebirds (agapornis fischeri) and makes the statement: “Each day about 140 lovebirds (agapornis fischeri) will learn how to fly”. Speaking about the artwork, Mona Chalabi said: “The different species of these birds have beautiful names: peach-faced, black-masked, grey-headed, yellow-collared, creamino… I chose fischer’s lovebird because population counts were available and because it’s pretty.”
For Rotation, the illustrator depicts the globe spinning on a finger to highlight that “In the time it takes you to read this, the earth will have rotated 0.02 degrees”. Monica Chalabi added: “Of course we know that the earth is spinning every moment of every day but we don’t think about it (maybe we would get motion sickness if we did!). But the continuity of our physical laws in a period of such instability and uncertainty feels strangely comforting.”
Rosa Medea is Life & Soul Magazine’s Chief. She writes about lifestyle including sustainable and green living. She also offers content services to businesses and individuals at Rosamedea.com