Mentor Carrie Mae Weems. Photo: Rolex/Audoin Desforges.

Carrie Mae Weems, Spike Lee, Among Mentors Chosen for Rolex’s Visual Arts Initiative

The Rolex Arts Initiative, a program launched by the luxury watch manufacturer in 2002, named the mentors and protégés selected for its 2020 cycle at a ceremony that was held at Cape Town’s Baxter Theater Center on Saturday. Since its inception, the initiative has paired fifty-four established artists with up-and-coming creatives from around the globe.

Filmmaker Spike Lee, whose feature film BlacKkKlansman was a best picture nominee at the ninety-first Academy Awards, will work with Kyle Bell; director Phyllida Lloyd, who is widely known for her work in theater and opera, with collaborate with Whitney White; composer Lin-Manuel Miranda, the creator of the smash-hit musical Hamilton, will name his protégé in the coming weeks; and artist Carrie Mae Weems, a renowned photographer who uses her practice to investigate the nature of family relationships, cultural identity, sexism, political systems, and the consequences of power, will mentor Camila Rodríguez Triana.

“We at Rolex have been privileged that, for nearly two decades, dozens of the most genre-defining artists have lent their time and expertise to the Arts Initiative,” said program director Rebecca Irvin. “The four new mentors who join the initiative’s community of creative greats have broken new ground in their respective fields and we look forward to the impact they will have on their protégés, as they pass on their devotion to their art in this cross-generational exchange.”

Last year the organization revealed a restructuring of the Rolex Arts Initiative. The program will now alternate the disciplines in which the mentorships are arranged each year. The 2018−19 cycle focused on architecture, dance, literature, and music. For 2020−21, the program will be centered on film, theater, and the visual arts, as well as a new “open category,” which is being led by Miranda.