Rolex Mentor and Protégé Arts Initiative

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By Butterboom Writers  /  July 21, 2014

Launched in 2002, the Rolex Mentor and Protégé Arts Initiative is a biennial, philanthropic programme offered by the timepiece brand to ensure that the world’s artistic heritage is passed on from generation to generation across continents and cultures. It has connected some of the most remarkable artists around the globe with big names serving as mentors. This year, seven talented young artists were  given a lifetime opportunity to collaborate with seven of the world’s greatest artists. Each protégé has been selected personally by the mentor in their discipline.

Who they are:


Gloria Cabral from Paraguay selected by Peter Zumthor

Gloria is a partner in the firm Gabinete de Arquitectura. Her work reflects her originality as she works on projects that are guided by strong environmental and social concerns and the creative use of local materials.

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Myles Thatcher from USA selected by Alexei Ratmansky

American dancer and choreographer Myles is known for his versatility and talent as a rising star of classical ballet. He will choreograph a piece for the San Francisco Ballet’s 2015 repertory season.

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Tom Shoval from Israel selected by Alejandro González Inárritu

Tom’s short films have garnered awards at international film festivals. His debut film Youth  premiered at the Berlinale and won Best Film at the Jerusalem Film Festival.


Miroslav Penkov from Bulgaria selected by Michael Ondaatje

Miroslav is an assistant professor of English in the Creative Writing Program at the University of North Texas. He is also the winner of the 2012 BBC International Short Story Award.

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Vasco Mendoca from Portugal selected by Kaija Saariaho

Vasco is known for his chamber music piece, The Boys of Summer, and an hour-long chamber opera, The House Taken Over. Both were commissioned by the Aix-en-Provence International Opera Festival.


Sebastián Solórzano Rodríguez selected by Jennifer Tipton

Mexican lighting designer Sebastián has created stage lighting for the Centro de Producción de Danza Contemporánea and Luz Y Fuerza: Cine Expandido, an interdisciplinary group he co-founded that makes hand-made light devices for art installations and live cinema performances.

Visual Arts

Sammy Baloji from Democratic Republic of Congo selected by Olafur Eliasson

Sammy has been widely exhibited in Europe, the US and Africa. He is the winner of the Prix Afrique en creation (2007), the Prince Clause Award (2008) and the Spiegel Prize (2012). He founded the Lubumbashi Biennale and the Picha Art Centre.


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