Text by Corina Tan
For more than half a century Rolex has partnered some of the world’s most talented artists and leading cultural institutions to help perpetuate artistic heritage and create a link between the past, present and future. This long-term commitment to global culture extends through music, architecture and cinema, along with the Rolex Mentor and Protégé Arts Initiative, which embraces a wide range of the arts.
Recognised all over the world, Rolex is known for its expertise, quality, elegance, prestige and continuous pursuit of excellence, all symbolised by the word “Perpetual”. The commitment to reach the pinnacle of performance and achievement is reflected in every aspect of the brand’s activities and partnerships.
Established in 2002, the Rolex Mentor and Protégé Arts Initiative was specifically set up to enable an exchange between different generations of artists, to assist in perpetuating the world’s cultural heritage. The Rolex mentoring programme seeks out gifted young protégés from all over the world and pairs them with world-renowned artists in their discipline for a minimum of six weeks of creative collaboration in a one-to-one mentoring relationship. In its goal to give emerging artists time to learn, create and grow, the programme exemplifies Rolex’s long-standing dedication to encouraging individual excellence and achievement. In 2020−2022, the programme has addressed film, theatre, the visual arts and an open category, while mentorships in architecture, film, literature, music and visual arts will take place in 2023–2024.
This September, Rolex announced the new mentors and their protégés at a ceremony at New York’s Brooklyn Academy of Music (BAM), as part of a two-day Rolex Arts Weekend celebrating the culmination of the current cycle of the programme. Rolex announced that Ghanaian sculptor El Anatsui has selected South African visual artist Bronwyn Katz as his protégée; 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.
Rebecca Irvin, head of the mentoring programme, said, “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.”