Rolex Mentor and Protégé Arts Initiative
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The Rolex Mentor and Protégé Arts Initiative is a philanthropic programme that pairs gifted young artists with internationally recognized masters in: architecture, dance, film, literature, music, theatre and visual arts, for a year of creative collaboration in a one-to-one mentoring relationship. The initiative was launched in 2002 and runs every two years, with the aim of making significant contributions to the arts worldwide. In keeping with its tradition of supporting individual excellence, Rolex seeks to give emerging artists time to learn, create and grow.
The mentoring programme grew out of a desire by Rolex, the Swiss watch company, to support artists in the same way that the Rolex Awards for Enterprise were supporting scientists, conservationists and explorers. Two years of research in the 1990s led to the discovery that mentorship of individual young artists was lacking, and the international initiative was founded to nurture young dancers, musicians, theatre directors, writers, visual artists and film-makers.
Unparalleled in corporate philanthropy today, in terms of the Rolex Arts Initiative’s scope and international reach, the programme is grounded in an age-old practice: the passing down of the world’s artistic heritage from one generation to the next through mentoring.
The mentor-protégé selection process begins with the establishment of an Advisory Board of distinguished artists and arts practitioners from around the world who suggest, endorse and help recruit the mentors. Once the mentors ─ one in each discipline ─ have agreed to take part, each gives a profile of his/her ideal protégé. The potential protégés are young, extremely talented artists, who have already made great headway in their careers, but who will benefit tremendously by collaborating with a master for a year.
Tailor-made panels of nominators, one for each discipline, act as “talent scouts” to identify suitable protégé candidates from their extensive network of contacts worldwide; the potential candidates are approached and asked to submit applications detailing their credentials and career motivation, which are used by the respective panel to select three or four protégé finalists. Finally, each mentor meets with the finalists to choose his/her protégé. The best talent is inevitably discovered through this process.
The mentor and protégé work closely together during the mentoring period, with each pair deciding the most effective way of interacting. Except for the minimum of six weeks (30 working days) that the mentor-protégé pairs are required to spend together, there are few rules to the programme. Most spend considerably more time interacting, sharing knowledge and experience.
Rolex grants each mentor an honorarium of 100,000 Swiss francs, and each protégé 40,000 Swiss francs during the mentoring period (plus travel and expenses) and 30,000 Swiss francs after the mentoring period for the creation of a new piece of work, a publication, performance or public event.
The programme is managed by a specialized team at the company’s headquarters in Geneva. After the mentoring year, Rolex continues to keep in touch with the protégés, following their careers and documenting their progress on the Arts Initiative website rolexmentorprotege.com.
The initiative has been highly acclaimed by both mentors and protégés. Protégés gain from the mentor-protégé relationship, and, over the years, mentors have expressed how they have gained new energy, insights and inspiration from the younger artists. Cross-fertilization also exists through the alumni network of artists who have participated in the programme.
(The architecture discipline was launched in 2012)
|2018–2019||Sir David Adjaye (Ghana / United Kingdom)||Miriam Kamara (Niger)|
|2016–2017||Sir David Chipperfield (UK)||Simon Kretz (Switzerland)|
|2014–2015||Peter Zumthor (Switzerland)||Gloria Cabral (Paraguay)|
|2012–2013||Kazuyo Sejima (Japan)||Zhao Yang (China)|
|2018–2019||Crystal Pite (Canada)||Khoudia Touré (Senegal)|
|2016–2017||Ohad Naharin (Israel)||Londiwe Khoza (South Africa)|
|2014–2015||Alexei Ratmansky (Russia/United States)||Myles Thatcher (United States)|
|2012–2013||Lin Hwai-Min (Taiwan)||Eduardo Fukushima (Brazil)|
|2010–2011||The late Trisha Brown (United States)||Lee Serle (Australia)|
|2008–2009||Jiří Kylián (Czech Republic)||Jason Akira Somma (United States)|
|2006–2007||Anne Teresa De Keersmaeker (Belgium)||Anani Dodji Sanouvi (Togo)|
|2004–2005||Saburo Teshigawara (Japan)||Junaid Jemal Sendi (Ethiopia)|
|2002–2003||William Forsythe (United States)||Sang Jijia (China)|
(The film discipline was launched in 2004)
|2016–2017||Alfonso Cuarón (Mexico)||Chaitanya Tamhane (India)|
|2014–2015||Alejandro G. Iñárritu (Mexico)||Tom Shoval (Israel)|
|2012–2013||Walter Murch (United States)||Sara Fgaier (Italy)|
|2010–2011||Zhang Yimou (China)||Annemarie Jacir (Palestine/Jordan)|
|2008–2009||Martin Scorsese (United States)||Celina Murga (Argentina)|
|2006–2007||Stephen Frears (United Kingdom)||Josué Méndez (Peru)|
|2004–2005||Mira Nair (India)||Aditya Assarat (Thailand)|
|2018–2019||Colm Tóibín (Ireland)||Colin Barrett (Ireland / Canada)|
|2016–2017||Mia Couto (Mozambique)||Julián Fuks (Brazil / Argentina)|
|2014–2015||Michael Ondaatje (Canada)||Miroslav Penkov (Bulgaria)|
|2012–2013||Margaret Atwood (Canada)||Naomi Alderman (United Kingdom)|
|2010–2011||Hans Magnus Enzensberger (Germany)||Tracy K. Smith (United States)|
|2008–2009||Wole Soyinka (Nigeria)||Tara June Winch (Australia)|
|2006–2007||Tahar Ben Jelloun (Morocco)||Edem Awumey (Togo)|
|2004–2005||Mario Vargas Llosa (Peru)||Antonio García Ángel (Colombia)|
|2002–2003||Toni Morrison (United States)||Julia Leigh (Australia)|
|2018–2019||Zakir Hussain (India)||Marcus Gilmore (United States)|
|2016–2017||Philip Glass (United States)||Pauchi Sasaki (Peru)|
|2014–2015||Kaija Saariaho (Finland)||Vasco Mendonça (Portugal)|
|2012–2013||Gilberto Gil (Brazil)||Dina El Wedidi (Egypt)|
|2010–2011||Brian Eno (United Kingdom)||Ben Frost (Australia)|
|2008–2009||Youssou N’Dour (Senegal)||Aurelio Martínez (Honduras)|
|2006–2007||Pinchas Zukerman (Israel)||David Aaron Carpenter (United States)|
|2004–2005||Jessye Norman (United States)||Susan Platts (Canada)|
|2002–2003||The late Sir Colin Davis (United Kingdom)||Josep Caballé-Domenech (Spain)|
|2016–2017||Robert Lepage (Canada)||Matías Umpierrez (Argentina / Spain)|
|2014–2015||Jennifer Tipton (United States)||Sebastián Solórzano Rodríguez (Mexico)|
|2012–2013||The late Patrice Chéreau (France)||Michał Borczuch (Poland)|
|2010–2011||Peter Sellars (United States)||Maya Zbib (Lebanon)|
|2008–2009||Kate Valk (United States)||Nahuel Pérez Biscayart (Argentina)|
|2006–2007||Julie Taymor (United States)||Selina Cartmell (United Kingdom)|
|2004–2005||Sir Peter Hall (United Kingdom)||Lara Foot (South Africa)|
|2002–2003||Robert Wilson (United States)||Federico León (Argentina)|
|2016–2017||Joan Jonas (United States)||Thao-Nguyen Phan (Vietnam)|
|2014–2015||Olafur Eliasson (Denmark/Iceland)||Sammy Baloji (Democratic Republic of the Congo)|
|2012–2013||William Kentridge (South Africa)||Mateo López (Colombia)|
|2010–2011||Sir Anish Kapoor (United Kingdom)||Nicholas Hlobo (South Africa)|
|2008–2009||Rebecca Horn (Germany)||Masanori Handa (Japan)|
|2006–2007||John Baldessari (United States)||Alejandro Cesarco (Uruguay)|
|2004–2005||David Hockney (United Kingdom)||Matthias Weischer (Germany)|
|2002–2003||Álvaro Siza (Portugal)||Sahel Al Hiyari (Jordan)|
- Rolex Awards for Enterprise, a sister project