Without conversation, healthy debate, and the exchange of knowledge and ideas, culture would surely die. What’s more, the arts are a necessary sounding board, contributing to a heathy and engaged society.
“Facilitating an enriching dialogue between artists of different generations, cultures, and disciplines is at the heart of the Arts Initiative,” says Rebecca Irvin, head of philanthropy at Rolex. “It is this passing on of art from master to young artist that formed the basis of the earliest mentoring relationships in the Renaissance, and which continues to ensure that great art is transmitted over centuries.”
Since 2002, 50 accomplished masters in the field of dance, theatre, film, visual arts, music, literature, and architecture have worked one-on-one with 50 gifted protégés. From South Africa, the list has included William Kentridge (mentor 2012-2013), Nicholas Hlobo, who was mentored by Anish Kapoor (2010-2011) and Baxter Theatre director Lara Foot who was mentored by the late great Peter Hall (2004-2005).
I met Khoza in Berlin recently during an inspiring long weekend of performances, exhibitions, and talks, which marked the end of the 2016-2017 cycle, and included luminaries such as composer Philip Glass, architect David Chipperfield, author Mia Couto, film director Alfonso Cuarón, multimedia artist Joan Jonas, and playwright/actor Robert Lepage. Strong debate over the future of arts education, a multimedia performance by Japanese-Peruvian composer and intermedia artist Pauchi Sasaki, and Khoza’s moving dance piece left an indelible impression on me.
“The only way to learn is through continuous dialogue,” Khoza says. She exudes a quiet confidence, and, despite the potential distractions of the day, is 100% present in our conversation.
“It’s crazy to think how disconnected I was from my body. I feel far more secure in myself now. It’s a far more present experience,” she says of her transformation. “I feel a lot more grounded and calm from inside out, not outside in.