Luxury Watches and Artists?


Last week I mentioned a new book by Phaidon on renowned artist Anish Kapoor, creator of one of my favourite public art installations — the Sky Mirror. Well now Kapoor is in the news again, having been announced as an official mentor by the 2010-11 Rolex Mentor and Protégé Arts Initiative.

This programme, started by Rolex back in 2002, is a bi-annual international philanthropic effort that aims to connect promising young talent with already established ‘master’ artists. It does so by selecting six mentors and six protégés from around the globe in the categories of film, visual arts, music, theatre and literature and matching them into pairs to work together for a year of creative collaboration and one-on-one mentoring. The 2010-11 initiative will be the fifth successful run.

There’s a pretty extensive selection program for both the mentors and protégés, with the choosing of the former being started two years in advance by panels of anonymous experts, with a different jury for each category. And the protégés, like the mentors, can’t just apply for the programme but are specially chosen, based on their promise, by the mentor and panel. I suppose the grant money also has something to do with this careful selection process — the protégé receives $25,000 for each of the two years in the programme, to cover expenses and travel during their time in tutorage and for investment for future projects.

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After it all gets going, mentors and protégés spend a minimum of six weeks together, to foster a fruitful relationship. Along with Kapoor, another of the chosen mentors this time is influential Chinese filmmaker Zhang Yimou, who is known for creating cinematic hits such as Red Sorghum, Hero and House of Flying Daggers. Last year, Zhang’s international fame reached new heights when he directed both the opening and closing ceremonies for the Beijing 2008 Summer Olympics. Zhang’s predecessor in the film mentor role was acclaimed American director Martin Scorsese.

So, despite reports like those I mentioned yesterday about arts-related institutions hitting hard times, it’s uplifting to still see an effort like this still going strong.

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