Deconstructing Power: An Evening with Mona Chalabi

Join us for a conversation with data journalist Mona Chalabi and curators Christina L. De León and Devon Zimmerman to celebrate the closing of Deconstructing Power: W. E. B. Du Bois at the 1900 World’s Fair. The exhibition places decorative arts from Cooper Hewitt’s permanent collection in dialogue with 20 innovative data visualizations that Du Bois created for the 1900 Paris World’s Fair to explore how design can both reveal and mask dynamics of power and equity. Through the lens of Chalabi’s contemporary data visualizations, the panelists will discuss the enduring legacy of Du Bois’ work and data as a source of power in today’s world.


Image: Mary Kang

Mona Chalabi is an award-winning writer and illustrator. Using words, color and sound, Mona rehumanizes data to help us understand our world and the way we live in it.

Her work has earned her a Pulitzer Prize, a fellowship at the British Science Association, an Emmy nomination and recognition from the Royal Statistical Society. In recent years, her art has been exhibited at the Tate, the Brooklyn Museum, the Design Museum, and the House of Illustration. She studied international relations in Paris and Arabic in Jordan.

Mona works beside windows, sometimes in her hometown, London but usually in Brooklyn where she is writing a book about the ways we talk about money. It has been optioned by A24 as a documentary series. She is also the executive producer and creative director of an upcoming animated TV show with Ramy Youssef, A24 and Amazon Studios.  

Her writing and illustrations have been featured in The New York Times, The New Yorker and The Guardian where she is currently the data editor. Her video, audio, and production work has been featured on Netflix, NPR, the BBC, and National Geographic.

Christina L. De León is the inaugural associate curator of Latino design and currently serves as the acting deputy director of curatorial at Cooper Hewitt. Since 2017, she has grown the museum’s collection of U.S. Latino and Latin American design, while also organizing exhibitions, public programs and bilingual digital content. In 2021, De León produced the museum’s first feature-length documentary film, Mud Frontier: Architecture at the Borderlands, which has screened widely internationally. At Cooper Hewitt, she has collaborated with artists on exhibitions such as “Rebeca Méndez Selects” and “Nature by Design: Cochineal.” She has also acquired works for the permanent collection by Tanya Aguiñiga, Daniela Villegas, Olga de Amaral and Edgardo Giménez, among others. From 2010 to 2016, De León was associate curator at Americas Society where she organized exhibitions and publications focused on modern and contemporary Latin American art.

Devon Zimmerman, PhD, is the associate curator of Modern and Contemporary Art at the Ogunquit Museum of American Art in Maine. His research focuses on transatlantic networks that fueled modernism in art and design. He is the curator of the exhibition Deconstructing Power: W. E. B. Du Bois at the 1900 World’s Fair. He is also the curator of several forthcoming exhibitions, including Spontaneous Generation: The Art of Liam Lee and Ever Baldwin: Down the Line. His article, “Corroding Geometries: Elsa Gramcko, Automobility, and the Paradoxes of Venezuelan Modernity, 1955–1965″ is to be published in the forthcoming issue of Modernism/Modernity.


  • Location: This program will take place in person in the Lecture Room at Cooper Hewitt (2 East 91st Street, New York, NY). The Lecture Room is on the ground floor of the museum and fully wheelchair accessible. There is an accessible restroom on the same floor. Theater-style seating will be available.
  • What to Expect: This program will include a conversation with accompanying slides by speakers, followed by an audience Q&A. Prior to the start of the program, in-person attendees can view Deconstructing Power: W. E. B. Du Bois at the 1900 World’s Fair.
  • Accommodations: The program includes live CART captioning.
  • For general questions, please email us at You may submit a question in advance for our speakers. If we can provide additional accessibility services or accommodations to support your participation in this program, email us or let us know when registering. Please make your accommodation request as far in advance as possible—preferably at least one week before the program date when possible.

Health & Safety Measures

Please visit Cooper Hewitt’s Plan Your Visit page for up-to-date information on health and safety guidelines.

Special Thanks

Deconstructing Power: W. E. B. Du Bois at the 1900 World’s Fair is made possible with major support from The Hearthland Foundation and Denise Littlefield Sobel. Additional support is provided by the Ehrenkranz Fund and The Felicia Fund.


Featured Image:  Left—”Occupations of Negroes and whites in Georgia”. Library of Congress Prints and Photographs Division. Right— Mona Chalabi.