Mentors and protégés pair at arts fest

Protege Marcus Gilmore with mentor Zakir Hussain.

More than 200 renowned artists and arts leaders from South Africa and around the world will gather at the Baxter on Saturday February 8 and Sunday February 9 for the Rolex Arts Weekend.

The event will include a series of talks, readings, exhibitions and performances, including two world premieres, and will feature the work of the 20182019 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 a one-to-one mentoring relationship.

The protégés will demonstrate the insights they gained from their mentors.

This year the Rolex Arts Weekend is being curated by Fruzsina Szé* , 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 20182019 programme.

Highlights over the weekend include dance, 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.

The Arts Weekend kicks off on Saturday, from 10am to 11.30am, with the symposium entitled “Who is Unrepresented in the Arts Today? The Arts in Times of Polarisation”. Professor Bhabha will lead the discussions with Lara Foot, Annemarie Jacir, Yo Yo Ma and Wole Soyinka.

From 2pm until 3pm, there will be the world premiere of When the Night Comes, by Senegalese protégée Khoudia Touré, a pioneer in urban street dance, with three members of the dance company, Compagnie La Mer Noire.

The Architecture Spotlight, from 3.30pm to 5pm, will feature protégée Mariam Kamara, originally from Niger, and mentor Ghanaian-born British architect Sir David Adjaye, who will present their plans for a new cultural centre in Niamey, Niger’s capital. The discussion, moderated by Ghanaian-Scottish architect Lesley Lokko, will be followed by the official opening of the exhibition Public Realm Along the Niger River, Niamey.

The architecture installation will be available for public viewing in the Baxter’s foyer until the end of February.

The Sunday programme is from 2pm until 3.30pm, with the second symposium, moderated by Professor Bhabha, with William Kentridge, Tracy K Smith, Mira Nair, Stephen Frears and Robert Wilson, entitled “Other Muses: Inspirations from Elsewhere”.

The spotlight on literature from 4pm to 5.30pm will fall onto mentor Colm Tóibí* and fellow Irishman and protégé Colin Barrett who completed his first novel, The English Brothers, during his mentorship.

Music protégé Marcus Gilmore, a drummer from America, will present a world premiere of his composition, Pulse, commissioned by the American Composers Orchestra from 6pm until 7.15pm in the Baxter’s Concert Hall.

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 noon until 9pm on both days.

Booking is now open for the public through Webtickets or at Pick n Pay stores.

Tickets cost R100 and R50 for students. All proceeds will go the Baxter’s Zabalaza Theatre Festival.