The Jakarta Post
The closing ceremony of Rolex Arts Weekend was held in Staatsoper, Berlin, on Feb. 5. (Rolex/Reto Albertalli)
Swiss watchmaker Rolex held the Rolex Arts Weekend from Feb. 3 to 4 in Berlin, Germany, as part of a 2016-2017 Rolex Mentor and Protégé Arts Initiative celebration.
Launched 15 years ago, the initiative is a philanthropic program that recognizes the importance of passing on artistic knowledge across generations and aims to find gifted young artists from around the world and bring them together with artistic masters for a year of mentoring and creative collaboration.
The Rolex Arts Weekend featured a series of public events held across four of Berlin’s most important cultural institutions: the Deutsches Theater, Gemäldegalerie, Staatsbibliothek and Kammerspiele. Among the highlights were performances, installations, three world premieres and a symposium on the need for arts education moderated by Harvard Professor Homi K. Bhabha.
“Berlin is a well-known center for emerging artists,” said Rebecca Irvin, head of philanthropy at Rolex. “What better place for us to welcome nearly 200 of our artistic family – past and present mentors and protégé, advisors and nominators – as well as hundreds of art enthusiasts from Berlin and beyond?”
A product of curatorial works by German dramaturge and festival director Stefan Schmidtke, the Arts Weekend culminated in a gala closing ceremony on Monday, held at the iconic Staatsoper Unter den Linden, the Berlin State Opera. Guests of the event witnessed first-hand the highlights of the mentor-protégé exchange over the past year through special presentations and films.
Highlights of the 2016-2017 mentoring year include protegee Londiwe Khoza, who was trained in classical dance at Ohad Naharin’s Bathseva Dance Company after she moved to Tel Aviv for the mentoring year. Learning to improvise based on Naharin’s dance language Gaga, Khoza said her dancing and her life – physically, emotionally and mentally – had been transformed. “She learned to be in the moment when she dances. She learned about her instinctive movement," Naharin said.
Proteges of the 2016-2017 cycle: Thao-Nguyen Phan, protegee in visual arts; Pauchi Sasak, protegee in music; Simon Kretz, protege in architecture,;Julian Fuks, protege in literature; Chaitanya Tamane, protege in film; Matias Umpierrez, protege in theater; and Londiwa Khoza, protege in dance. (Rolex/Rolex)
Meanwhile, Chaitanya Tamhane of India spent a month in Mexico on the set of Academy Award-winning director Alfonso Cuarón’s new film Roma. The Indian filmmaker concluded from the mentoring that what would eventually keep us afloat is our love for what we do and our faith in our vision. For the director himself, the experience was a two-way street. He feels that, like any experience in which knowledge is shared, both parties are rewarded.
For the mentoring in music, American composer Philip Glass shared his wisdom of a lifetime with Peruvian protegee Pauchi Sasaki. During the year, Sasaki accompanied her mentor to see performances of his work at venues around the world, from Japan to the Netherlands, including two premieres. “Every single detail tells me and teaches me a lot,” Sasaki concluded.
In theater, Robert Lepage, a supreme performer – the creator of startling, unconventional theater over four decades – was eager to take as much inspiration from his young protegee, Matias Umpierrez, as he gave. The mentorship evolved into a fascinating exchange between two artists committed to expanding the boundaries of the medium.
In architecture, mentor Sir David Chipperfield and his Swiss protégé Simon Kretz worked on a theoretical project about responsible urban design. In literature, writer Mia Couto from Mozambique and his Brazilian-Argentinian protégé Julian Fulks collaborated based on their love for serious literature, and their shared experience as citizens of Portuguese-speaking countries. Meanwhile, the visual arts creative exchange paired New York-based performance and video artist Joan Jonas with protegee Thao-Nguyen Phan from Vietnam. The young artist described meeting Jonas as “something like destiny”, a lasting relationship that immensely supported her career.
The gala closing ceremony that highlighted the fascinating mentor-protégé exchange over 2016-2017 culminated in the announcement of the mentors and proteges of the 2018-2019 Arts Initiative cycle. Renowned artists David Adjaye, Zakir Hussain, Crystal Pite and Colm Toibin will assume the mentorship role in the creative exchange with outstanding young talents Colin Barrett, Marcus Gilmore, Mariam Kamara and Khoudia Toure in the new cycle of the Rolex Arts Initiative. (mut/kes)