The Rolex Mentor and Protégé Arts Initiative has been a driving force in engaging some of the most prominent artists in the world to participate in a programme which recruits seven important disciplines including Architecture, Film and Visual Art. This opportunity pairs emerging young talent with seasoned industry leaders for a year of creative development.
The arts have a tradition of mentoring dating back to the Renaissance. During the late 19th century the founder of Impressionist movement, Camille Pissarro was known to have nurtured the younger Post Impressionists Paul Cézanne, Paul Gauguin and the Pointillist artist Georges Seurat. This relationship was instrumental in pushing the boundaries of style and form, helping to sow the seeds of Modernism.
Today some of the leading international contemporary artists involved with the Rolex philanthropic programme are continuing in this tradition. Household names include Turner Prize winning artist Anish Kapoor (2010-2011) and David Hockney (2004-2005) who was recently awarded the Order of Merit, by the Queen, the UK’s highest honour awarded to the arts disciplines.
John Baldessari (2006-2007) the highly regarded American artist was involved in an intensive year-long mentoring session with his Rolex protégée Alejandro Cesarco. Together they “successfully negotiated the cerebral landmines of their artistic domain, forging a rich, playful and productive relationship”. Last year’s Rolex visual artist mentor was the South African artist William Kentridge, who acted as mentor to Mateo López. Lopez stated, Kentridge “attempted to push me out of my comfort zone. Now I try to work more freely.”
The Rolex Mentor and Protégé Arts Initiative programme operates on a biannual basis appointing a new advisory board of prominent practitioners in the arts. The selection process is rigorous with a tailor-made programme designed to work alongside the busy schedules of the mentors involved.
Next year’s visual arts mentor will be the Danish-Icelandic artist Olafur Eliasson best known for his large-scale installations and sculptures that explore the relationship between the spectator and object.
This article has been sponsored by Rolex.
Photo: Top Left Anish Kapoor and Nicholas Hlobo Top Right: John Baldessari and Alejandro Cesarco Bottom Left: David Hockney and Matthias Weischer Bottom Right: William Kentridge and Mateo López