The Rolex Arts Weekend will feature the works of the 2018-2019 protégés of the Rolex Mentor and Protégé Arts Initiative

SINGAPORE (Dec 13): The Rolex Arts Weekend will gather more than 200 renowned artists and arts leaders from South Africa and around the world in Cape Town on Feb 8 and 9 for a weekend of art, culture and performances.

The Arts Weekend, which is a series of public events, including talks, readings, exhibitions and performances, will feature the works of the 2018-2019 protégés of the Rolex Mentor and Protégé Arts Initiative with their mentors.

The Rolex Mentor and Protégé Arts Initiative is an international philanthropic programme that seeks out gifted young artists around the world and pairs them with recognised masters for a period of creative collaboration in a one-to-one mentoring relationship. The two-day Arts Weekend is the culmination of the current cycle of the programme.

One of the highlights of the event is the world premiere performance by Senegalese protégée Khoudia Touré, a pioneer in urban street dance, with three members of the dance company, Compagnie La Mer Noire (main image). The production was created following Touré’s close interaction with her mentor, Canadian choreographer Crystal Pite, who will introduce the dance, When the night comes, a piece born from hip-hop and infused with other dance styles and techniques.

The Arts Weekend will also be the world premiere of music protégé Marcus Gilmore, an innovative young drummer from the US, who will present his composition, pulse, commissioned by the American Composers Orchestra. The piece for ensemble and the spoken word will include an exciting exchange between Gilmore and former Rolex literature protégée Tracy K Smith.

Literature will also come to life during the event, as under the tutelage of mentor Colm Tóibín, fellow Irishman and protégé Colin Barrett completed his first novel, The English Brothers. An adapted extract from the book that features the two writers’ mutual fascination with questions of belonging and self-definition will be performed by local actors in advance of a discussion — “What can be said: Home and voice” — between mentor and protégé.

Protégé Barrett (left) completed his first novel, The English Brothers, under his mentor Tóibín

Audiences will also have the chance to hear international artists debating the role of culture in society and the interdisciplinary nature of their work in two separate panel discussions led by Professor Homi Bhabha of Harvard University. They are entitled “Sister-arts and other muses: Influences and confluences in the making of art” and “Against the grain: The arts in times of polarization”.

In addition to the symposiums and the mentor-protégé events, an Arts Weekend Cinema event at the Baxter’s Golden Arrow Studio will feature films about the Rolex Arts Initiative, as well as past and current mentors and protégés.

The Rolex Arts Weekend is being curated this year by Fruzsina Szép, the Hungarian-born festival and artistic director of Lollapalooza Berlin who also served as an Arts Initiative nominator, helping to identify suitable potential protégés for the programme in 2018-2019.

“The Baxter is a most appropriate venue for the Arts Weekend,” says Rebecca Irvin, head of the Rolex Arts Initiative. “Not only is it known for presenting a variety of progressive works, it is led by CEO and artistic director Lara Foot, herself a former protégée of the theatre great Sir Peter Hall in the 2004-2005 series.” Through these various events, the protégés will demonstrate the insights they [gleaned] from their mentors over the course of the mentoring period. This interchange between generations is integral to Rolex’s dedication to passing on knowledge; in this case, perpetuating excellence in the arts.