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Oct 25, 2019 | REAL|People

Rolex’s famed Protégé Initiative pairs talented creatives with strong mentors to guide them along their paths. See them in action in SA in 2020

Rolex’s prestigious arts programme, the Protégé Initiative, has been running since 2002, and is an international programme that seeks out gifted young artists in a variety of disciplines from around the world and pairs them with artistic masters for a period of mentoring and creative collaboration. In keeping with its tradition of supporting excellence, quality and performance – all values inherent in Rolex – the company gives these emerging talents time to learn, create and grow.

In early 2020, Rolex Arts Initiative mentors Sir David Adjaye, Zakir Hussain, Crystal Pite and Colm Tóibín will join protégés for public events at the Baxter Theatre Centre. To mark the occasion, more than 200 renowned South African and international artists and arts leaders will gather on 8 and 9 February. The Arts Weekend will comprise a series of public events ranging from talks and readings, to exhibitions and performances featuring the work of the 2018-2019 protégés. The weekend will also see the launch of two world premieres. This two-day programme is the culmination of the current cycle of the programme.

“The Baxter is a most appropriate venue for the Arts Weekend,” says Rebecca Irvin, Head of the Rolex Arts Initiative. “Not only is it known for presenting a variety of progressive works, it is led by CEO and Artistic Director Lara Foot, herself a former protégée of the theatre great Sir Peter Hall in the 2004−2005 series.” 

The Rolex Arts Weekend is being curated this year by Fruzsina Szép, the Hungarian-born Festival and Artistic Director of Lollapalooza Berlin who also served as an Arts Initiative nominator, helping to identify suitable potential protégés for the programme in 2018−2019. Highlights of the weekend will include a world premiere by Senegalese protégée and dancer Khoudia Touré, a pioneer in urban street dance, with three members of the dance company, Compagnie La Mer Noire in a production created in collaboration with her mentor, Canadian choreographer Crystal Pite. You can also see protégée Mariam Kamara, originally from Niger, and her mentor Ghanaian-born British architect Sir David Adjaye present their plans for a new cultural centre in Niamey, Niger’s capital.

In addition, attendees will have the opportunity to hear international artists debating the role of culture in society and the interdisciplinary nature of their work in two separate panel discussions led by Prof. Homi Bhabha of Harvard University, as well as view feature films about the Rolex Arts Initiative, and past and current mentors and protégés at the Arts Weekend Cinema event at the Baxter’s Golden Arrow Studio.

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