Passing on creative legacies

Cinema: Kyle Bell and Spike Lee/ © Bart Michiels

Rolex has announced the names of those taking part in its 2020-2021 Rolex Arts Initiative,
a creative collaboration in which mentors and protégés exchange ideas and ensure that artistry at the highest level is transmitted across generations and geographic boundaries.

Rolex’s artistic mentoring programme has been supporting talented young artists for nearly two decades. Since 2002, dozens of ground-breaking creatives, highly respected in their fields, have acted as mentors to young artists from around the world, their protégés. These masters of screen and stage, music and the visual arts have lent their time and expertise to benefit the lucky young artists selected for the programme. The 2020-2021 initiative again underscores the rule of excellence upheld by Rolex and has also added a new, eighth discipline, the “open category”. In this latest chapter of cross-generational creative exchanges, American film director, producer and scriptwriter Spike Lee has chosen to pass on his passion and know-how to 33-year-old Native American filmmaker

Visual arts: Carrie Mae Weems and Camila Rodríguez Triana / © Rolex/Audoin Desforges

Kyle Bell. Lee has 35 feature films and documentaries to his credit and is a tenured Professor and Artistic Director at New York University’s graduate film programme; he has been named President of the Jury for this year’s 73rd Cannes Film Festival. Bell, who became a 2019 Sundance Indigenous Program Fellow, strives to tell the stories of his people, as in his Heartland Emmy-winning documentary Osiyo: Voices of the Cherokee People. 

Screen to stage to visual arts

On the theatre side, the bold and innovative British director Phyllida Lloyd, a fervent advocate of gender equality, will pass her creative legacy on to 33-year-old Whitney White, director, musician, composer and actress, who is making her name as one of the most sought after young theatre-makers in the United States. As Artistic Associate at New York’s Roundabout Theatre Company, White has directed genres ranging from the classics to iconoclastic productions such as What to Send Up When it Goes Down, a play about racialized violence that was hailed by The New York Times. In the visual arts category, Carrie Mae Weems will work for two years with 35-year-old Colombian artist Camila Rodríguez  Triana. Weems’s prolific output – through image and text, film, video,

Theatre: Phyllida Lloyd and Whitney White / © Bart Michiels

performance and also lectures, presentations and interactions with individuals across a multitude of disciplines – delves into stereotypes and the complexity of human feelings. Camila Rodríguez  Triana is a filmmaker, visual artist and the founder of Heka Films SAS. She produces works that, like her mentor’s, portray intimate relationships in everyday spaces, and she also explores the boundaries between documentary and fiction. Lastly, American composer, lyricist and actor Lin-Manuel Miranda will announce his “open category“ protégé in the near future. Miranda has brought us the musicals Hamilton and In the Heights, both of them Tony Award winners, and has also won a Pulitzer Prize, three Grammy Awards and an Emmy Award.  By Julie de los Rios