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The Rolex Mentor and Protégé Arts Initiative

Audrey Simon
Audrey Simon9/29/2022 04:55 PM GMT+08  • 9 min read
The Rolex Mentor and Protégé Arts Initiative
The Rolex Mentor and Protégé Arts Initiative
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The mentors and protégés arts programme for 2023 to 2024 by Rolex has just been announced. The mentor lineup includes acclaimed artists El Anatsui (visual arts), Bernardine Evaristo (literature), Jia Zhang-Ke (film), Anne Lacaton (architecture) and Dianne Reeves (music). They have selected younger artists of outstanding accomplishment worldwide as their protégés.

This year’s crop of talented protégés who will benefit from this programme are: Ghanaian sculptor El Anatsui has selected South African visual artist Bronwyn Katz; British author Bernardine Evaristo selected Ghanaian writer Ayesha Harruna Attah; Chinese filmmaker Jia Zhang-Ke selected Filipino filmmaker Rafael Manuel; French architect Anne Lacaton selected Lebanese- Armenian architect Arine Aprahamian, and American jazz singer Dianne Reeves selected South Korean singer and composer Song Yi Jeon.

In keeping with the Rolex tradition of encouraging individual excellence, the protégés are given the rare opportunity to spend significant periods in a creative exchange with world-renowned artists in their particular field — the mentors — on a one-to-one basis.

The Rolex mentoring programme was established in 2002 and aimed to aid in transmitting artistic knowledge and craft from one generation to the next. It exemplifies Rolex’s pursuit of excellence, symbolised by the word ‘Perpetual’ that underpins every aspect of the brand’s activities, from watchmaking to its partnerships. This commitment to always reach the pinnacle of performance and achievement drives Rolex to support individuals and organisations in the arts and culture, sport and exploration, as well as those devising solutions to preserve the planet.

The mentoring programme is based on the belief that art is a continuum, an accumulation of past experiences over generations, and that all artists are inspired by those who went before them.

The mentors who have so far given their time generously and vast talent are among the world’s greatest artists. They are architect Sir David Adjaye, author Margaret Atwood, (the late) John Baldessari, writer Tahar Ben Jelloun, (the late) Trisha Brown, (the late) Patrice Chéreau, architect Sir David Chipperfield, writer Mia Couto, filmmaker Alfonso Cuarón, (the late) Sir Colin Davis, choreographer Teresa De Keersmaeker, artist Olafur Eliasson, musician Brian Eno, author Hans Magnus Enzensberger, choreographer William Forsythe, filmmaker Stephen Frears, musician Gilberto Gil, composer Philip Glass, filmmaker Alejandro G. Iñárritu, (the late) Sir Peter Hall, artist David Hockney, artist Rebecca Horn, musician Zakir Hussain, artist Joan Jonas, sculptor Sir Anish Kapoor, artist William Kentridge, choreographer Jirˇí Kylián, playwright Robert Lepage, dancer Lin Hwai-min and filmmaker Phyllida Lloyd.

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To date, the Rolex Mentor and Protégé Arts Initiative have paired 63 of the world’s greatest artists with 63 highly talented younger professionals from around the globe.

Rebecca Irvin, head of the mentoring programme, says: “Rolex is deeply grateful to the mentors for their commitment to advancing the artistry of the next generation through the irreplaceable tradition of individual exchange and inspiration. We also extend our congratulations to the protégés, who now join the global and multigenerational artistic community that has grown over the past two decades. It will be exciting to see how the creative collaborations in this new cycle will once again take place across barriers of geography and culture, as well as age, and to look forward to celebrating all the mentors and protégés from the past 20 years next year at an exceptional Rolex Arts gathering.”

Here is a closer look at the mentors, the protégés and their respective fields of expertise.

See also: Creating a better world through design


Anne Lacaton


Jia Zhang-Ke

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Bernardine Evaristo


Dianne Reeves

Visual Arts

El Anatsui


Arine Aprahamian


Rafael Manuel


Ayesha Harruna Attah


Song Yi Jeon

Visual Arts

Bronwyn Katz

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