An ode to the producers — issue #31

An ode to the producers — issue #31

The question of who produces the things we eat, use, and basically take for granted each day has seeped deeper into our consciousness over the past few years. It seems that humanity’s slowly (and hopefully, surely) woken up to the horrors of our overconsumption—and, with that, begun to recognise the people who keep our global systems running.

In the fashion world, the 2013 collapse of a garment factory in Dhaka was a turning point, sparkingthe Who Made Your Clothes movement. All of a sudden, we started asking who really pays the price for fashion.

Many movements supporting the rights of the world’s workers and producers have arisen since then. After all, many of us would not be able to get dressed, enjoy food, or drive cars without them.

At Kontinentalist, we’ve dug deep into some of the world’s most complex trades to tell stories of those upon whose backs these systems are built. We do this in hopes that they will not be forgotten, and that consumerism won’t lure us into denial once again. 

Have an industry in mind that you think we should cover? Drop us an email at We’d love to hear from you.


Behind the scenes
This story uncovers and investigates the dirty realities of gem producers on the ground, even as middle-men and consumers take most of the profits.
We wanted to kickstart the story by informing readers about the cultural and religious significance of gemstones. Our viz was designed to mimic a zodiac circle, reflecting the spiritual significance on display.
The global gem flow demonstrates the gem trade from producer to exporter countries—with heavy emphasis on Asian producers. Asia is highlighted in lapis lazuli blue to make it stand out from the other muted variables.
The shapes we chose here need to visually add to the topic of gems. We decided on an angular shape—the octagon—which also makes it more experimental than the usual circles. We specifically wanted to highlight the Junta-backed gem licenses, which we presented as a range of beige-pink colors in contrast to the muted, jade-coloured variables.
...more from us
Farmers from Thailand to India are fighting for their rights to save seeds, continuing an age-old tradition that keeps our global food system running.
Many of us depend on a hot cuppa coffee to kick off the day, but do we ever think about where our beloved coffee beans come from?

Check this out! 
We’re looking for a new Editorial Lead to take our voice to greater heights! Interested in shaping conversations in Asia using data? Always wanted to work with cause-driven partners and create visual wonders to drive impact? Get the deets here.

"When I was just starting out in data viz and putting my personal stuff out there, I felt a bit down if there was not much interaction and feedback from other people. Now, I don’t care about that. I think it’s important to create the work for yourself, not for anyone else, and worry less about what everyone else is doing. If you love what you’re doing, and you’re learning and growing from it, then that’s all that matters. "


Stuff we love
Where were our major food crops originally grown, and where are they now? Explore 
Who controls Indonesia’s coal? This interactive game gets you acquainted with the big boys. Play
Want to know where your chocolate comes from? You’re in for a yummy treat. Munch
How did COVID-19 disrupt the global food chain? It’s more complex than you think. Scroll
Did you know?
From the 1400s, the Pinisi boat, part of the heritage of the Buginese of Sulawesi, was used to transport local produce such as spices, sandalwood, and textiles through the historic maritime spice route. Today, the pinisi still plays a vital role in traditional transport and inter-island trade. Pinisi boat builders take years to craft these important vessels on the beach. These masters follow a series of rituals, including finding iron for the vessels on the fifth or seventh day of the month.