Great teachers for disciples with a future

Through its Arts Initiative, Rolex enables young talent to network with great artists from around the world, who take this opportunity to share their wisdom, experience and ideas. Promoted since 2002, the proposal for mentors and disciples celebrated a cycle closure in September and announced the new pairs for 2023.

24 November 2022 10.10

New York is a hotbed of the world’s creativity. What better city to show the works that originated from the last cycle of the artistic initiative Rolex for Mentors and Protégés. The event also announced the new pairs for the 2023-2024 edition of this program carried out by the watch brand. This proposal is now 20 years old and gives all those selected the unique opportunity to present their creations and collaborate, over two years, with renowned personalities from different disciplines: architecture, visual arts, cinema, dance, literature, music and theater.

Spike Lee is a legend to me, and watching him carry himself in his directing role was incredible. When he speaks, each moment is a teaching. “He’s helped me express my vision and guide others,” said Kyle Bell, a Native American filmmaker from the Thlopthlocco Creek tribal community who lives in Oklahoma. USA. He was the protégé of the director of Malcolm X and with this push he managed to make two documentary shorts. I hope Kyle makes the movies he wants to make and tells the people’s story about him. I am very hopeful for his future, Lee added.

Another of the mentor-disciple duos was made up of an Argentine: the filmmaker and visual artist Agustina San Martín, who was tutored by Lin-Manuel Miranda. I celebrated the input I received from the American composer, actor, director, and producer, star of several award-winning Broadway productions: This mentorship made me feel more empowered and motivated. I learned a lot from Lin-Manuel and his mentor. Now I try to focus on getting my narrative out to a wider audience. He is a master at it. It was wonderful to have this conversation with him as I continue on my own on this new path.

Rolex takes you to share with great artists of the world:
Rolex Arts Initiative for Mentors and Protégés.

They also went through Rolex Arts Weekend, which was performed at the Brooklyn Academy of Music (BAM), the visual artist Carrie Mae Weems and her disciple, the Colombian Camila Rodríguez Triana; and theater category mentor Phyllida Lloyd, who mentored playwright Whitney White.

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The creative interactions that these mentors and disciples have carried out during the last two years, despite the great challenge posed by the pandemic, are tangible proof of the power that art has to unite people, as well as the invaluable and time-honored “This is the tradition around which the program is built: the personal transmission of art at the highest level,” said Rebecca Irvin, director of the Rolex Arts Initiative. The meeting that marks the end of this cycle is a true moment of celebration and renewal for the artists themselves and their public.

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Open doors

The Rolex Mentor and Protégé Arts Initiative is a life-changing experience. It starts from the premise that all artists are inspired by their predecessors and invites different disciplines, cultures and generations to share experiences.

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Rolex takes you to share with great artists of the world:
Rolex Arts Initiative for Mentors and Protégés.

The aim of the Swiss brand is to give emerging talents time to learn, create and grow. There are already 63 talented young people who received first-hand lessons from 63 of the best artists in the world. Among the mentors who joined the proposal are: David Adjaye, Margaret Atwood, John Baldessari, Tahar Ben Jelloun, Trisha Brown, Patrice Chreau, David Chipperfield, Mia Couto, Alfonso Cuarn, Colin Davis, Anne Teresa De Keersmaeker, Olafur Eliasson , Brian Eno, Hans Magnus Enzensberger, William Forsythe, Stephen Frears, Gilberto Gil, Philip Glass, Alejandro G. Irritu, Peter Hall, David Hockney, Rebecca Horn, Zakir Hussain, Joan Jonas, Anish Kapoor, William Kentridge, Jiˇr Kylin, Robert Lepage, Lin Hwai-min, Toni Morrison, Walter Murch, Ohad Naharin, Mira Nair, Youssou N’Dour, Martin Scorsese, Kazuyo Sejima, Peter Sellars, lvaro Siza, Wole Soyinka, Julie Taymor, Saburo Teshigawara, Jennifer Tipton, Mario Vargas Llosa and Zhang Yimou.

Peter Hall, David Hockney, Rebecca Horn, Zakir Hussain, Joan Jonas, Anish Kapoor, William Kentridge, Jiˇr Kylin, Robert Lepage, Lin Hwai-min, Toni Morrison, Walter Murch, Ohad Naharin, Mira Nair, Youssou N’Dour, Martin Scorsese, Kazuyo Sejima, Peter Sellars, Alvaro Siza, Wole Soyinka, Julie Taymor, Saburo Teshigawara, Jennifer Tipton, Mario Vargas Llosa, and Zhang Yimou.

After receiving enormous advice, the disciples saw several doors open to prestigious positions, awards and international festivals and exhibitions. But the benefit is mutual: Most of the great artists discovered in these collaborations an enrichment in their careers. Both are grateful to have crossed their paths.

Rolex takes you to share with great artists of the world:
Rolex Arts Initiative for Mentors and Protégés.

How are the protégés chosen? Young artists cannot apply directly. The nomination committees are in charge of identifying potential disciples based on the profile desired by the mentor. Only then are they invited to submit their application.

New talents

The 2023-2024 cycle of the Rolex Mentor and Protégé Arts Initiative will feature a promising team. The Ghanaian sculptor El Anatsui selected the South African visual artist Bronwyn Katz as his disciple; British author Bernardine Evaristo (famous for her novel Girl, Woman, Others) and Ghanaian writer Ayesha Harruna Attah; the audacious Chinese filmmaker Jia Zhang-Ke, the Filipino director Rafael Manuel; the French architect, an environmental expert, Anne Lacaton, and the Lebanese-Armenian architect, Arine Aprahamian; and American jazz performer Dianne Reeves to Korean singer-songwriter Song Yi Jeon.

They come from different parts of the planet and intend to spend the next two years immersed in a collaborative process. The disciple receives advice, witnesses the teacher in action, and may even collaborate on a work.

Rolex deeply thanks the mentors for their commitment to advancing the art of the next generation through the irreplaceable tradition of sharing and individual inspiration. In addition, we want to congratulate the disciples, who become part of the global and multigenerational artistic community that has grown over the last two decades. It is exciting to see that the creative collaborations of this new cycle will be carried out once again transcending geographical and cultural barriers, as well as that of age, emphasized Irvin.

The mentor as a way to learn and reach the highest potential as an artist. That is the commitment of the Swiss brand, which is convinced of tutoring as an irreplaceable method for transmitting art from generation to generation and thus contributing to perpetuating the heritage of world culture.

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