Rolex Mentor and Protégé Arts Initiative comes to Cape Town

03 February 2020 | Story Supplied. Read time 4 min.
Rolex prot&eacute;g&eacute;s (back, from left): Mariam Kamara and Koudia Toure; (front, from left): Colin Barrett and Marcus Gilmore. <b>Photo</b> Audoin Desforges.
Rolex protégés (back, from left): Mariam Kamara and Koudia Toure; (front, from left): Colin Barrett and Marcus Gilmore. Photo Audoin Desforges.

More than 200 renowned artists and arts leaders from South Africa and around the world will gather at Cape Town’s Baxter Theatre Centre on 8 and 9 February to attend the prestigious Rolex Arts Weekend.

The arts weekend, a series of public events – talks, readings, exhibitions and performances, including two world premieres – will feature the work of the 2018−2019 protégés of the Rolex Mentor and Protégé Arts Initiative with their mentors.

The two-day celebration is the culmination of the current cycle of the programme, which pairs master artists with emerging artists in several disciplines for a period of creative exchange in a one-to-one mentoring relationship.

Making waves at gravitational summer school
Architecture mentor Sir David Adjaye and protégé Mariam Kamara. Photo Tina Ruisinger.

“The Baxter is a most appropriate venue for the arts weekend,” said Rebecca Irvin, head of the Rolex Arts Initiative. “Not only is it known for presenting a variety of progressive works, it is led by Lara Foot, chief executive and artistic director – herself a former protégé of the theatre great Sir Peter Hall in the 2004−2005 series.”

Through these various events, the protégés will demonstrate the insights they gained 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.


“This is certainly one of the most distinguished and vital international
programmes for young artists.”

“To be able to host the 2020 Rolex Arts Weekend is an honour for me personally and for the Baxter,” said the multi-award-winning Foot. “This is certainly one of the most distinguished and vital international programmes for young artists. As the years go by, I find that my year-and-a-half with Peter, nearly 15 years ago, has become richer and more meaningful. As I become more of a mentor and as my writing evolves and I take on bigger challenges with my directing, I find that the time with my mentor becomes more recent. So, in a sense it never really finished; it never really ended.”


This year the Rolex Arts Weekend is being curated 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.

Highlights over the weekend include dance, architecture, literature, music, arts symposia and cinema. The Saturday is dedicated to dance and architecture and Sunday to literature and music.

For the symposia, international artists will debate the role of culture in society and the interdisciplinary nature of their work in two separate panel discussions led by Professor Homi K Bhabha of Harvard University.

In addition to the symposia and the mentor–protégé events, an Arts Weekend Cinema at the Baxter’s Golden Arrow Studio will feature films about the Rolex Arts Initiative with past and present mentors and protégés. These screenings are free and will take place from 12:00 until 21:00 on both days.

Visit the Baxter Theatre website to see the full programme.


Booking is now open for the public to attend any of the events, discussions or the symposia, by booking through Webtickets, online at, or at Pick n Pay stores.

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