10 global culture facts

World Heritage sites, graffiti, the first photo and more arty facts

10 global culture facts

Kelly Lowe, a masters student in Conservation Studies at UCL Qatar, shares her top ten facts about art and culture across the globe.

1) People take thousands of photos every year, but it hasn’t always been so easy. The first paper photograph was created 176 years ago by using salt and silver nitrate and exposing them to the sun.

2) There are 1,007 natural and cultural places inscribed on the World Heritage List to date. One of these includes the largest mud-brick building in the world located in Mali. Qatar’s Al Zubarah Archaeological Site is also on the list.

3) The highest-priced pieces of art continue to be produced by men. But things are looking up, with Iranian artist Monir Shahroudy Farmanfarmaian receiving recognition for her recent show at the Guggenheim in New York.

4) There is internet art and now there seems to be post-internet art. But don’t worry, it’s not a signal of the end, quite the contrary. Post-internet art has adapted in a similar way to post-modernism, moving past the web as a subject and instead using it as a medium to achieve results beyond an online presence and back into the real world.

5) This year, the treasure from the ‘Titanic of the ancient world’ might see new light. Discovered 100 years ago off the coast of Greece, The Antikythera will surely contain amazing archaeological discoveries.

6) Damascus, Syria, is widely regarded as being one of oldest continually inhabited cities in the world. Excavations at Tell Ramad on the outskirts of the city indicate that it was inhabited as early as 8,000-10,000 BCE, and the city was designated a World Heritage site in 1979.

7) Does technology help or hinder the preservation of culture? Indigenous Tweets is a great example of using technology and social media to revitalise dying languages. The program has uncovered 250 languages, 139 of which are a minority. Traditional practices in China are finding a new life on the internet, as they are now being filmed, documented, and shared. At the same time, it has been shown by the World Archaeological Congress that social media helps make cultural icons a target for vandalism.

8) The venue for viewing art has changed. Art apps, websites, art fairs, museums, pop-up shows and archaeological sites (both real and virtual) are just of few of the options now available.

9) Graffiti is continuing to be legalised in certain areas around the world. Bristol in England even has its own two-day graffiti festival, where a section of road is cornered off for the use of artists.

10) Her Excellency Sheikha Al Mayassa bint Hamad bin Khalifa Al Thani is currently in the top five list of the art world’s most influential players. Qatar paid US$250 million for Paul Cézanne’s ‘The Card Players’ – the most money ever paid for a single work of art.

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