Ruth K. Franklin Symposium on the Arts of Africa, Oceania, and the Americas

Cultural Heritage and African Art: Negotiating the Rise of Ethical and Legal Collecting Concerns.

Saturday January 21, 2012, 9:30 am to 4:30 pm

Stanford, Calif. — On Saturday, Jan. 21, the Cantor Arts Center at Stanford University presents this year’s Ruth K. Franklin Symposium on the Arts of Africa, Oceania, and the Americas. Specialists on issues of art and cultural patrimony address the topic “Cultural Heritage and African Art: Negotiating the Rise of Ethical and Legal Collecting Concerns.”

In recent decades, the media and academic circles have given great attention to the protection of cultural property from looting and the sale and collection of archaeological materials. More recently, collectors, scholars and curators of African art have been increasingly confronted with ethical dilemmas and legal ambiguities in the collection of non-archaeological arts from Africa. This daylong symposium focuses on identifying the ideological concerns and practical solutions surrounding the legal and ethical considerations of collecting African art made in the last 500 years.

The symposium, held in the Cantor Arts Center auditorium, begins with registration at 9:30 a.m. The first panel, 10 a.m.–noon, is followed by a 2-hour lunch break. The symposium concludes with a second panel discussion, 2–4:30 p.m. Admission is free, with open seating (no reservations). Lunch is not hosted, and attendees may eat in the Center’s Cool Café or elsewhere.

Speakers are:
• George Okello Abungu, Ph.D., founding director, Okello Abungu Heritage Consultants, Nairobi, Kenya
• Derek Fincham, J.D., Ph.D., assistant professor, South Texas College of Law, Houston
• Kate Fitz Gibbon, J.D., attorney, Kate Fitz Gibbon Law Office, Santa Fe, N.M.
• Barbaro Martinez-Ruiz, Ph.D., assistant professor, Department of Art and Art History, Stanford University
• John Henry Merryman, J.D., LL.M., professor of law emeritus and affiliated professor emeritus in the Department of Art, Stanford University
• Sylvester Okwunodo Ogbechie, Ph.D., associate professor, Department of the History of Art and Architecture, University of California, Santa Barbara

This program is made possible by the endowed Ruth K. Franklin Lecture and Symposium Fund. Ruth Franklin was the first Phyllis Wattis Curator for the Arts of Africa, Oceania, and the Americas at the Cantor Arts Center, and her curatorial work significantly strengthened the Center’s collection. In 2002, an anonymous donor endowed the Ruth K. Franklin Fund for Lectures and Symposia on the arts of Africa, Oceania, and the Americas. Memorial gifts from numerous donors also support the Franklin Fund, which makes possible an annual lecture or symposium in perpetuity. The Center presented the first Ruth K. Franklin Symposium in 2003.

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VISITOR INFORMATION: Cantor Arts Center is open Wednesday – Sunday, 11 am - 5 pm, Thursday until 8 pm. Admission is free. The Center is located on the Stanford campus, off Palm Drive at Museum Way. Parking is free after 4 pm weekdays and all day on weekends. Information: 650-723-4177,

PUBLICITY PHOTOS: For high-resolution images, contact PR Assistant Manager, Margaret Whitehorn: 650-724-3600,

Artist unknown, Bwa peoples, Burkina Faso, Hawk Mask, (detail), 20th century. Wood, pigments, leather, and raffia. Cantor Arts Center, Gift of Marc and Ruth Franklin, 1997.109


Artist unknown, Maasai peoples, Kenya, Ornament,
c. 1970. Beads, leather, button and aluminum. Gift of Thomas K. Seligman and Rita Barela,