Cantor Arts Center at Stanford University Presents Symposium "Art as Agency in Central Africa"

February 18, 2005

Stanford, California, November 15, 2004—The Iris & B. Gerald Cantor Center for Visual Arts at Stanford University presents the Ruth K. Franklin Symposium for Arts of Africa, Oceania, & the Americas. This year's symposium entitled, Art as Agency in Central Africa, will be held on Friday, February 18, 2005 from 9:30 am until 5 pm. The general public is welcome to the symposium. Admission is free to the museum and the symposium.

This symposium includes talks by five distinguished scholars:
  • David Binkley, National Museum of African Art, Smithsonian Institution;
  • Wyatt MacGaffey, Haverford College
  • Allen F. Roberts, University of California, Los Angeles
  • Mary Nooter Roberts, University of California, Los Angeles
  • Robert Farris Thompson, Yale University

The symposium will be held at Fairchild Auditorium, which is on the Stanford campus near the Cantor Arts Center. Seating is open, with no reservations. Fairchild Auditorium is at 291 Campus Drive (between Fairchild Research Building and Beckman Center for Molecular Biology). For information call 650-725-3155 or email

Ruth Franklin was the first Phyllis Wattis Curator for the Arts of Africa, Oceania, and the Americas at the Cantor Arts Center. Just prior to her retirement and her untimely death in 2000, she assisted in selecting Manuel Jordán Peréz as the next Wattis Curator. Franklin's curatorial work significantly strengthened the Cantor Arts Center's. In 2002, an anonymous donor established the Ruth K. Franklin Fund for Lectures and Symposia in the arts of Africa, Oceania, and the Americas. Memorial gifts from numerous donors also support the endowed Franklin Fund, which will make possible an annual lecture or symposium in perpetuity. Art as Agency in Central Africa is the third of these programs presented in her memory.

  • 9:30-10 am
    Welcoming remarks: Thomas K. Seligman
    Introduction: Manuel Jordan Perez
  • 10-11 am
    "Stop the Sun"—Art and Agency in Southern Kuba Funerary Rituals
    David A. Binkley
    Senior Curator for Research and Interpretation
    National Museum of African Art, Smithsonian Institution
  • 11 am-noon
    Hidden Agendas of Tabwa Sculpture: Arts of Cosmology and Political Legitimacy
    Allen F. Roberts
    Director, James S. Coleman African Studies Center at UCLA
    Professor, UCLA Department of World Arts and Cultures
  • noon-1 pm
    Artistry, Capacity, and the WORK of Art in Luba Royal Culture
    Mary (Polly) Nooter Roberts
    Deputy Director and Chief Curator
    UCLA Fowler Museum of Cultural History
  • 1-2 pm LUNCH BREAK
  • 2-2:10 pm
    Introduction: Barbaro Martinez Ruiz
  • 2:10-3:10 pm
    An nkisi has life; if it had not, how could it help people?" Art theory and the agential object
    Wyatt MacGaffey
    Professor Emeritus, Department of Anthropology
    Haverford College
  • 3:10-4:10 pm
    Staccato Incandescence: Kongo Impact on Art in the Americas
    Robert Farris Thompson
    Colonel John Trumbull Professor of the History of Art
    Yale University
  • Extra time for general questions

The Cantor Arts Center maintains regular visitor hours Wednesday­Sunday, 11 am–5 pm, Thursday until 8 pm Admission is free. The Center is located on the Stanford University campus off Palm Drive. Call 650-723-4177 for directions, parking instructions and information about events, free tours, and exhibitions in the Center's 24 galleries.

Media Contact:
Anna Koster, Public Relations Manager
Iris & B. Gerald Cantor Center for Visual Arts at Stanford University

Copyright © 2005 Iris & B. Gerald Cantor Center for Visual Arts at Stanford University

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Female Figure
Democratic Republic of the Congo
Wood, beads, metal, mirror, fiber
Given in memory of Ruth K. Franklin by Marc Leo Felix, 2001.20