In a culmination of its year-long efforts to revitalise the neglected art of mentorship, Rolex will be holding Rolex Arts Weekend on Feb 8 and 9 at the Baxter Theatre Centre in Cape Town, South Africa. The series of (mostly) public events will feature works from the 2018-2019 proteges of the Rolex Mentor and Protege Arts Initiative with their mentors.

The event is expected to be attended by over 200 renowned artists and arts leaders from around the world. They include visual artist Anish Kapoor and director Julie Taymor, who will be participating in panel discussions on the topics of “The Arts in Times of Polarization” and “Other Muses: Inspirations from Elsewhere” respectively. Kapoor is best known for his public installation “Cloud Gate” in Chicago (a giant curved mirror also known as “The Bean”), while Taymor is recognised for her Broadway adaptation of The Lion King

Architecture protégé Mariam Kamara, working at her practice, Atelier Masomi, in Niamey, Niger. Photo: Rolex

What is it?

The Rolex Mentor and Protege Arts Initiative was created in 2002 to pair talented young artists from disciplines such as dance, architecture, literature, and music, with masters in the field for a one-on-one period of mentoring and creative collaboration. Citing German composer and conductor Christian Gottlieb Neefe’s mentoring impact on Ludwig van Beethoven and French impressionist painter Camille Pissarro, Rolex believes in mentorship as an effective learning approach for artists to achieve their full potential.

Protégée Khoudia Touré rehearsing. Photo: Rolex

The programme does not accept applications. Instead, one can only be nominated by an advisory board of distinguished artists and arts practitioners, which is refreshed every two years. 

This investment in mentorship is in line with the Rolex’s tradition of supporting individual excellence. Other philanthropic efforts by the Swiss luxury watchmaker include the Rolex Awards for Enterprise, which supports individuals who have helped to improve lives and protect the environment.