Seven new protégés are starting extraordinary creative journeys with their mentors, artists who are among the best in the world.
Seven highly gifted young artists from four continents are about to join one of the world’s leading arts philanthropy programmes, bringing to a total of 50 the number of young talents who have participated in the Rolex Arts Initiative since its launch in 2002.
The new protégés – a Swiss architect, a writer from Brazil, a Peruvian musician, a dancer from South Africa, an Argentinian/Spanish theatre artist, a film-maker from India and a Vietnamese visual artist – are being mentored by some of the most acclaimed figures in the contemporary arts worldwide: British architect Sir David Chipperfield, Israeli choreographer Ohad Naharin, Mexican film director Alfonso Cuarón, poet and novelist Mia Couto, from Mozambique, American composer Philip Glass, Canadian theatre director Robert Lepage and American performance and video artist Joan Jonas.
The young artists, one for each of the programme’s seven disciplines, are aged from 22 to 36. The Rolex Arts Initiative will give the mentor-protégé pairs funding and logistical support, enabling them to spend at least six weeks working together, though many of mentoring pairs often spend much more.
Each mentoring pair will have the liberty to decide how best to use their time in the most creative and productive way possible. At the end of the 12 months, each of the protégés will create or produce a work or performance that will be part of a Rolex Arts Weekend in late 2017.
The protégés for 2016–2017 are:
Swiss architect, urbanist and researcher Simon Kretz (selected by mentor Sir David Chipperfield), is noted for his ability to design in a multitude of scales. In 2009, he co-founded the architectural firm Christina Nater und Simon Kretz Architekten GmbH, and in 2014 became a founding partner of Christian Salewski & Simon Kretz Architekten GmbH.
South African Londiwe Khoza (selected by mentor Ohad Naharin) has bee
n recognized over the past five years for her exceptional talent in neoclassical and contemporary dance, as well as for her dramatic skills. Currently, a dancer at the Cape Dance Company, she recently performed with the Joburg Ballet, South Africa’s most prestigious ballet company.
Indian film-maker Chaitanya Tamhane (selected by mentor Alfonso Cuarón) , has amazed critics with his debut feature film, Court, which has won over 30 awards at film festivals worldwide. The masterly satire by the self-trained young director was India’s submission for the 2016 Best Foreign Film Oscar. Tamhane is currently writing the script for his second feature film.
Nominated for his country’s top literary prizes, Brazilian writer, critic and translator Julián Fuks (selected by mentor Mia Couto) has won accolades for his work, including his latest novel, A resistência (Resistance), praised for its linguistic precision and lyricism.
Peruvian violinist, composer and multimedia performance artist Pauchi Sasaki (selected by mentor Philip Glass) works across music styles and disciplines and has already been singled out as a future leading composer.
Matías Umpierrez, a dual Argentinian and Spanish national (selected by mentor Robert Lepage), is acknowledged for his experimental “neo-technological” works that combine the theatrical and the audio-visual. Since 2014, he has directed and curated the Festival Internacional de Dramaturgia Europea + América, which he founded.
Thao-Nguyen Phan (selected by mentor Joan Jonas) has pushed the boundaries of contemporary art in Vietnam through a combination of painting, video, performance and installation. She has taught art and art history to Vietnamese university students and co-founded the collective Art Labor, which develops art projects benefiting the local community.
“The new intake of protégés brings the total number of emerging artists supported by Rolex since the Arts Initiative’s launch in 2002 to 50,” said Rebecca Irvin, Head of Philanthropy at Rolex. “This demonstrates both the scope of the programme in unearthing the world’s best young talent and its geographical diversity. Over the next year, each of the seven new protégés will have the invaluable benefit of a personal working relationship with a recognized master in his or her field. By the end of the cycle, they will all have become members of the global family of remarkable artists supported by the Rolex programme.”