One of the most prestigious and dynamic artistic events ever held in Cape Town will take over the Baxter for a weekend in April this year

Cape Town theatre audiences and lovers of the arts can expect a rare treat when artistic masters William Kentridge, Peter Sellars and Wole Soyinka grace the stages of the Baxter Theatre Centre in A Unique Gathering: Rolex Mentors and Protégés, a weekend of artistic exchange from 5 to 7 April.

Baxter CEO and Artistic Director Lara Foot, a Rolex protégée to theatre mentor Sir Peter Hall in 2004 -2005, has invited a group of mentors and protégés toCape Townfor a weekend of discussions and performances that will celebrate this extraordinary community.

William Kentridge, Peter Sellars and Wole Soyinka, all mentors in the Rolex Arts Initiative, will join some of the world’s rising stars, all protégés under this philanthropic programme. Eight protégés will participate.  They are: Lara Foot (theatre,South Africa), Edem Awumey (literature,Togo) Maya Zbib (theatreLebanon), Anani Dodji Sanouvi (dance,Togo), Antonio García Ángel (literature,Columbia), Aurelio Martínez (music,Honduras), Josué Méndez (film,Peru) and Mateo López (visual arts,Columbia).

The Rolex Mentor and Protégé Arts Initiative was established in 2002. It brings artistic masters together with talented young artists for a year of creative collaboration in a one-to-one mentoring relationship in seven disciplines: architecture, dance, film, literature, music, theatre and visual arts.  The Initiative’s aim is to contribute to global culture by ensuring that the world’s artistic heritage is passed from one generation to another.

The weekend’s programme, which includes four public events, starts on Friday, 5 April, at 4pm with a workshop by South African visual and theatre artist William Kentridge entitled Getting Started, in the Baxter Flipside. Kentridge, 2012-2013 Rolex mentor in visual arts, will explore the origin of ideas and impulses and how they become artistic material. Tickets are R100 and R50 for students.

Later that day, Honduras-born singer and composer Aurelio Martínez will perform In Concert with Neo Muyanga and Friends, in the Baxter Concert Hall at 8pm.  Tickets are R75. Martínez, the Rolex 2008 – 2009 protégé in music, possesses one of the most powerful voices to emerge fromCentral America in a generation. A standard-bearer of Garifuna culture, which fuses African and Caribbean-Indian roots, he recently spent a year collaborating with Rolex music mentor Youssou N’Dour, who helped him connect to his African roots. He will perform with well-knownCape Town musician and composer Neo Muyanga and a band of local South African musicians.

On Saturday, 6 April, at 3pm, world-renowned American opera, theatre and festival director, Peter Sellars leads a workshop entitled Artists on the front line with two of the protégés. He will interview acclaimed Togolese creator of dance Anani Sanouvi, and groundbreaking Lebanese theatre artist Maya Zbib in exploring how art and culture contribute to a healthy society. Under discussion will be themes such as ‘How do artists respond to conflict?’ and ‘How can they be part of the solution?’

Sellars was the theatre mentor for the Rolex Arts Initiative for 2010-2011; Anani Sanouvi was the dance protégé for 2006-2007 and Maya Zbib was the theatre protégé for 2010-2011. This workshop will take place in the Baxter Flipside Theatre and tickets are R100 and R50 for students.

The public events come to an end on Saturday 6 April at 8pm in the Concert Hall with Turning the world into material: William Kentridge, Peter Sellars and Wole Soyinka. Impulses behind the idea and the materialisation of an impulse: how does the world come into your work? Each of these iconic artists will respond to this question with reference to his own experience. Nigerian Novel Prize-winning author Wole Soyinka was the 2008-2009 mentor in literature. Tickets are R180 and R60 for students.

Booking for A Unique Gathering: Rolex Mentors and Protégés, is through Computicket on 0861 915 8000, online at www.computicket.co.za or at any Shoprite Checkers outlet.

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Biographies of the ROLEX MENTORS:

Peter Sellars – Theatre Mentor (2010-2011)

American theatre, opera and festival director Peter Sellars has gained renown worldwide for his transformative interpretations of artistic masterpieces and collaborative projects with an extraordinary range of creative artists across three decades. Sellars’ early work crossed genres and time with contemporary versions of works by Shakespeare, Brecht, Gershwin, Mozart, Handel and Bach. Later, he collaborated with composer John Adams on operas, including Nixon in China, The Death of Klinghoffer and Doctor Atomic. New operas by Kaija Saariaho and Amin Maalouf, Osvaldo Golijov and David Henry Hwang, and Tan Dun join productions of works by Messiaen, Ligeti, Hindemith, Kurtág and Stravinsky. Sellars, who has directed many path-breaking international festivals, including in Los Angeles, Venice and Vienna, is a resident curator at the Telluride Film Festival and a professor of World Arts and Cultures at UCLA. Awarded a MacArthur Fellowship at age 25, he is the recipient of the 1998 Erasmus Prize and a member of the AmericanAcademy of Arts and Sciences. Recent projects have included a concert staging of Bach’s Saint Matthew Passion with the Berlin Philharmonic Orchestra, a staging of Nixon in China for the Metropolitan Opera, and new productions of Handel’s Hercules in Chicago and Vivaldi’s Griselda in Santa Fe. Desdemona, a collaboration with Nobel Prize-winning novelist Toni Morrison and Malian composer and singer Rokia Traore, was performed in Vienna, Brussels, Paris, Berkeley, New York, and Berlin, and presented in London as part of the 2012 Cultural Olympiad. Sellars’ latest collaboration with John Adams, The Gospel According to the Other Mary, is being performed in Europe and the U.S. this year.

William Kentridge – Visual Arts Mentor (2012-2013)

A visual artist whose creativity has led him to other media, William Kentridge is acclaimed for his compelling work that meshes the personal and political influences on his life in South Africa during and after apartheid. After earning a degree in politics from Witwatersrand University in 1976, Kentridge spent the next decade pursuing his interests in both drawing and theatre, studying at the Johannesburg Art Foundation and the Ecole Jacques Lecoq in Paris, and working with the Junction Avenue Theatre Company. By the late 1980s, he had begun the oeuvre for which he has become best known – an innovative fusion of charcoal drawing, animation, film and theatre, including the animation based on a succession of drawn, erased and redrawn charcoal images that he created for multi-media theatre pieces made with the Handspring Puppet Company, and his celebrated “Nine Drawings for Projection” film series. In 2010, a major retrospective, William Kentridge: Five Themes, was held at New York’s Museum of Modern Art (MoMA), while the premiere of his staging of Shostakovich’s The Nose took place at the Metropolitan Opera. Kentridge’s work has recently been featured at museums and exhibitions in Melbourne, Amsterdam, Kassel (DOCUMENTA 13), Málaga and Rio de Janeiro. Chosen as one of Time magazine’s 100 most influential people in the world for 2009, Kentridge received the Kyoto Prize in Arts and Philosophy in 2010, and was elected as an honorary member of the American Academy of Arts and Letters in 2011. In 2012 he delivered the Charles Eliot Norton Lectures at Harvard University.

Wole Soyinka – Literature Mentor (2008-2009)

Nigerian writer Wole Soyinka is acclaimed internationally as a playwright, poet, novelist, essayist and humanitarian. Considered his country’s foremost dramatist, he was the first African to win the Nobel Prize in Literature, in 1986, for his groundbreaking works that fuse literature and politics, Western and African traditions. Educated at Western Nigeria’s University College, Ibadan, and at the University of Leeds in the U.K., in 1960 Soyinka returned to Nigeria after six years in England to pursue his career as an author, professor and human rights activist. An outspoken critic of Nigeria’s past tyrannies, Soyinka has spent long periods of his life in exile. His Poems from Prison (1969) and The Man Died: Prison Notes (1972) describe his 27 months in a Nigerian prison, and his play, King Baabu (2001) satirizes African dictatorships. Soyinka’s You Must Set Forth at Dawn (2006) depicts his adult life and opposition to Nigeria’s corrupt regimes. The memoir follows on from his autobiography, Aké: The Years of Childhood (1981), and a long string of masterpieces written over a half-century. His latest work, Of Africa (2012), a volume of essays on Africa and Africans in the new millennium, was published in Nigeria under the title Harmattan Haze on an African Spring. Soyinka represented Nigeria at “Poetry Parnassus”, a week-long series of poetic events at the 2012 Cultural Olympiad in London. He is emeritus professor at Obafemi Awolowo University in Nigeria, President’s Professor in Residence at Loyola Marymount University, Los Angeles, and an associate at the Du Bois Institute, Harvard University

Biographies of ROLEX PROTÉGÉS:

Antonio García Ángel – Literature Protégé (2004-2005)

Colombian author Antonio García Ángel is considered one of Colombia’s best young writers. García Ángel’s talent for writing was first recognized at Bogotá’s Pontificia Universidad Javeriana where he received degrees in literature and communications. Since then, he has taught at the university (1998-2001), worked as a writer and host for Caracol Television, produced two documentaries, written television scripts and articles and served as an editor at SoHo magazine. During this period, he also found time to write his first novel – a thriller set in Bogotá. Captivating from the first page, the highly acclaimed and best-selling book – Su casa es mi casa (Your House is My House) – published in 2001, combines humour and intrigue in a gripping story. The European edition of the book was published in Spain in 2007. García Ángel wrote his second novel, Recursos Humanos (Human Resources), under the guidance of Mario Vargas Llosa, his mentor in the Rolex Arts Initiative. His third book, the critically praised “masterpiece” Animales domésticos (Domestic Animals), released in 2010, is comprised of a novella and a series of short stories. Recently, he embarked on a fresh narrative set against the backdrop of the drug trade. Through the use of colloquial and evocative language, García Ángel brings his characters vividly to life and captures the essence of Bogotá’s urban landscape.

Aurelio Martínez – Music Protégé (2008-2009)

Singer, guitarist, composer and percussionist, Aurelio Martínez is one of Central America’s most gifted performers. The Honduras-born musician, recognized for his powerfully evocative voice, is a major tradition-bearer of the threatened Garifuna culture that fuses African and Caribbean-Indian roots. Carrying on his family’s musical tradition, Martínez played the drums in public at age six, and in his late teens formed the Garifuna ensemble, Lita Ariran. In 2004, he was named “Newcomer of the Year” by AfroPop Worldwide for his acclaimed first solo album, Garifuna Soul, a top-ten album of the year that positioned Martínez as a superstar in the making. In 2011, WorldMusic.co.uk. awarded his album Laru Beya (On the Beach), which included a collaboration with Youssou N’Dour – his mentor in the Rolex Arts Initiative – and African-Cuban Orchestra Baobab members, sixth place in the Top 20 World Music Albums. “If anyone is going to put the Garifuna culture onto the map, it’s Aurelio Martínez,” said an online review. As both a cultural and political spokesperson from the marginalized Atlántida region, Martínez was the first Afro-descendent elected to the Honduran National Congress, where he served for four years. He also was president of the Commission of Ethnic Peoples. Martínez is now based in New York where he maintains a busy concert and recording schedule, taking Garifuna music to the world.

Josué MéndezFilm Protégé (2006-2007)

Peruvian film-maker Josué Méndez knew that he wanted to be a director from an early age. After high school, Méndez joined a film workshop in Lima where he realized that he could “use film-making to say something about life”. At Yale University (1994 to1998), he gained a B.A. in film and Latin American studies, and took courses in film-making and editing at New York University’s Tisch School of the Arts. Returning to Peru, he formed his own production company, Chullachaki Producciones, in 1998, and began working as a freelance assistant director, film editor and screenwriter. His first feature film, Días de Santiago (2004), has won more than 30 international prizes, making it one of Peru’s most awarded films. His second feature, Dioses, premiered in competition at the 2008 Locarno Film Festival, and was later released in Argentina, France and the U.S. In 2009, Méndez produced Paraíso, which premiered at the Venice Film Festival; and, in 2010, he was associate producer of Las Malas Intenciones, first shown at the Berlin Film Festival. In 2009, he co-directed the documentary Qué culpa tiene el tomate. For television he has directed successful shows, including La Gran Sangre II, Los Exitosos Gomes and Ramírez. In 2012, Méndez was deputy director of two stage plays: La Ciudad y los Perros and La Falsa Criada. Currently, he is developing his third feature film as a director.

Anani Dodji Sanouvi – Dance Protégé (2006-2007)

 

Togolese dance creator Anani Dodji Sanouvi has been hailed for his ability to assimilate different traditions into his own dynamic style. His works have toured Europe, the United States, the Middle East and Africa. “My heart is deeply in all that concerns the knowledge of traditional elders from Africa and abroad,” he says. This sense of heritage permeates his art and forms his sense of responsibility as an artist. It has also led him to develop a method for teaching and making contemporary art –called AgamaFo – that is rooted in the knowledge and spiritual practice of animism. In this context, Sanouvi is in the process of implementing an arts laboratory and programme in Togo titled ‘The Tools of the Wisdom’. He is also collaborating with the Kôré Cultural Centre in Mali to bring artistic and social awareness to the dance studio and outside – to local venues of social and religious importance. Sanouvi is currently taking part in The Gospel According to the Other Mary by Peter Sellars and John Adams, which will be performed in Europe and the U.S. this year. Recently the African Centre awarded him with a research residency at the Instituto Sacatar in Brazil. Living between Amsterdam and Africa, he plans in the near future to remake and extend Music for Pieces of Wood, a duet that he considers to be a cornerstone of his work and which he choreographed with Anne Teresa De K

Maya Zbib – Theatre Protégé (2010-2011)

Lebanese theatre performer, writer and director, Maya Zbib is co-manager of Beirut’s Zoukak Theatre Company and Cultural Association, which she co-founded in 2006. Zbib acquired a Master’s in performance making in 2007 from Goldsmiths, University of London, and since then has created and performed in solo work, including The Music Box, a performance-installation staged in people’s houses and showcased at international festivals. The show, first performed in 2008 in Beirut, is enjoying a long and constantly evolving life. The latest production she directed is Silk Thread, a site-specific work, performed in Beirut, Berlin and soon in Marseille. Between 2008 and 2012, Zbib was employed as an instructor of acting and dance at the Institute of Fine Arts, the Lebanese University, and as an instructor of communication studies at the Lebanese International University (2008-2010). Since 2008, she has taken part with Zoukak in leading drama-therapy workshops and community-devised performances throughout Lebanon. Zbib also facilitates collaborations, artistic residencies and events with international artists in the company’s studio, where she is currently curating a year-long platform of performing arts entitled Zoukak Sidewalks. In September 2013, she will direct an adaptation of A Memory for Forgetfulness by the late Palestinian poet Mahmoud Darwish. Dedicated to making theatre that has an impact on society, Zbib, like Peter Sellars, her mentor in the Rolex Arts Initiative, sees theatre as a force for change.