Radical Cosmologies

Dr. Mary (Polly) Nooter Roberts

Dr. Mary (Polly) Nooter Roberts is a curator, author and professor with a Ph.D., M.Phil. and M.A. in art history from Columbia University. Dr. Roberts' is a renowned scholar of African arts and the art of the Congo's Luba peoples. In addition to being a curatorial consultant for LACMA, Dr. Roberts is also Professor of the World Arts and Cultures Program at UCLA.

Allen F. Roberts

Allen F. Roberts has been engaged with Africa since the mid-1960s, when he taught middle school in the Republic of Chad for three years. Since then he has lived and conducted research in the Benin, Burkina Faso, the Congo, Gabon, Mali, and Senegal for over a dozen years. A socio-cultural anthropologist by training (MA and PhD, University of Chicago; BA, Amherst College), Roberts is an interdisciplinarian at heart, with interests ranging from art and AIDS awareness to Islamic mysticism in Africa, the anthropology of architecture to African vernacular photographies, local-level politics to ritual processes. He conducts research, writes books, and curates major thematic exhibitions with his spouse, Dr. Mary Nooter Roberts (Deputy Director and Chief Curator of the Fowler Museum and Adjunct Professor of World Arts and Cultures), who is an Africanist art historian. Their award-winning works include Memory: Luba Art and the Making of History (1996), A Sense of Wonder (1997), and A Saint in the City: Sufi Arts of Urban Senegal (2003). While they continue research in Senegal where they have worked for fifteen years now, the Robertses are beginning a new project in Mauritius and several other countries concerning visual culture associated with Shirdi Sai Baba (d.1918), an Indian saint.