Rolex Mentor and Protégé Arts Initiative celebrates the field of dance.
Rolex Mentor and Protégé Arts Initiative celebrates the field of dance.
Image: Supplied

Without enriching dialogue, healthy debate and the exchange of knowledge, culture would be in decline. What’s more, the arts are a necessary sounding board, contributing to a heathy, engaged society. Early in 2018, I attended the Rolex Arts Weekend of performances, exhibitions and talks in Berlin, Germany, which marked the end of the 2016-2017 cycle of the prestigious Rolex Mentor and Protégé Arts Initiative. This was the most inspiring creative gathering I’d ever attended, with luminaries such as composer Philip Glass, architect Sir David Chipperfield, author Mia Couto, film director Alfonso Cuarón, multimedia artist Joan Jonas and playwright-actor Robert Lepage among those included in the programme.

What made this immersion in the arts extraordinary was that so many of these icons made themselves freely available for one-on-one discussions. Strong debate over the future of arts education, a multimedia performance by Japanese-Peruvian composer and intermedia artist Pauchi Sasaki and a performance by young South African dancer Londiwe Khoza left a lasting impression.

But Berlin is a long way to go for the arts, so you’ll be pleased to learn that Rolex has chosen the Baxter Theatre in Cape Town to host this year’s event. This is the first on African soil and will feature the work of the 2018-2019 cycle of protégés with their mentors in the fields of dance, architecture, music and literature.

Highlights include a world premiere by Senegalese protégée Khoudia Touré, a pioneer in urban street dance, created in close collaboration with her mentor Canadian choreographer Crystal Pite; an architectural presentation by Mariam Kamara and mentor Sir David Adjaye, featuring plans for a new cultural centre in Niger’s capital, Niamey; a world premiere by American musician and composer Marcus Gilmore presenting his composition Pulse, commissioned by the American Composers Orchestra and Against the Grain: The Arts in Times of Polarisation, a panel discussion moderated by acclaimed scholar and critical theorist Professor Homi Bhabha, with visual artist Sir Anish Kapoor, director Lara Foot, filmmaker Annemarie Jacir, musician Yo-Yo Ma and author Wole Soyinka.

Rolex Mentor and Protégé Arts Initiative celebrates the field of music.
Rolex Mentor and Protégé Arts Initiative celebrates the field of music.
Image: Supplied

Since its inception in 2002, this international philanthropic programme has placed 54 exceptional young talents with 54 accomplished masters in the fields of dance, theatre, film, visual arts, music, literature and architecture to work one-on-one for a two-year period of creative collaboration. All participants receive full funding for the duration of the programme, which allows them to immerse themselves in their work. From South Africa, the list has included William Kentridge (mentor 2012-2013); Nicholas Hlobo, who was mentored by Kapoor (2010-2011) and Baxter Theatre director Foot who was mentored by the late, great Peter Hall (2004-2005). The 25-year-old classically trained dancer Khoza was mentored by acclaimed Israeli dancer-choreographer Ohad Naharin, the director of the Batsheva Dance Company in Tel Aviv, where she now resides.

DON'T MISS OUT: BOOK YOUR TICKETS TO THE EVENT

Saturday February 8 is dedicated to dance and architecture (all tickets are R100 (R50 for students)).

Sunday February 9 is literature and music (all tickets for all events are R100 (R50 for students)). 

Films on previous protegés and mentors will be screened with no entrance fee.

Seating is limited, so early booking is strongly advised.

All proceeds from ticket sales will go to the Zabalaza Festival, a Baxter Theatre Centre development programme. To view the full programme and book your tickets, visit Web Tickets..

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