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Six Exceptional Young Talents Selected for Rolex Mentor and Protégé Arts Initiative
Brian Eno, Mentor (right), and Ben Frost, Protégé. © Rolex/Kirsten Holst.

LONDON.- Six exceptional young talents from Australia, Jordan, Lebanon, South Africa and the United States have been chosen by Trisha Brown, Brian Eno, Hans Magnus Enzensberger, Anish Kapoor, Peter Sellars and Zhang Yimou to work with them for a year of individual mentoring in the Rolex Mentor and Protégé Arts Initiative 2010-2011, it was announced this week.

The six protégés are:

•Dance: Lee Serle (Australia)
Selected by mentor Trisha Brown (United States)

Australian dancer/choreographer Lee Serle, 28, received a bachelor of dance degree from Melbourne’s Victorian College of the Arts in 2003. He has contributed to the work of several mainly Melbourne-based companies, including Lucy Guerin Inc and Chunky Move, with which he has performed both nationally and internationally. His choreographic credits include A Little Murky, a small-scale piece that experiments with subtle characterization and showcases his powerful and theatrical style, and I’m in Love, for the Next Wave Festival in Melbourne.

•Music: Ben Frost (Australian living in Iceland)
Selected by mentor Brian Eno (United Kingdom)

Thirty-year-old Australian composer, producer and musician Ben Frost received an arts degree in Melbourne in 2005, before relocating across the world to Reykjavík where he co-founded the record label Bedroom Community. Frost’s work, influenced by minimalism, punk rock and metal, includes three albums: Steel Wound (2003), Theory of Machines (2007) and By the Throat (2009). His multidisciplinary collaborations include work with choreographers Gideon Obarzanek and Wayne McGregor and with well-known artists such as Björk. He is currently composing music for an online game, World of Darkness.

•Literature: Tracy K Smith (United States)
Selected by mentor Hans Magnus Enzensberger (Germany)

Tracy K. Smith, 38, received degrees from Harvard and Columbia universities before becoming a fellow at Stanford and taking on various teaching positions. Since 2005, she has been assistant professor of creative writing at Princeton. Her two critically acclaimed poetry collections, The Body’s Question (2003), winner of the Cave Canem Prize for the best first book by an African-American poet, and Duende (2007), recipient of the James Laughlin Award of the Academy of American Poets, will be followed in 2011 by her recently completed, Life on Mars.

•Visual Arts: Nicholas Hlobo (South Africa)
Selected by mentor Anish Kapoor (United Kingdom)

Nicholas Hlobo, 34, was born in Cape Town in 1975 and lives in Johannesburg. He graduated with a degree in Fine Art from the then Technikon Witwatersrand in Johannesburg, in 2002. He has exhibited in group and solo shows from Cape Town to Rome and Boston. The distinctive use of evocative materials is a hallmark of Hlobo’s sculptural installations and performances, which are rooted in his native Xhosa culture and language. In 2008, he exhibited four works, entitled Uhambo, in the Level 2 Gallery, Tate Modern, for emerging, international artists. Among his recent successes was the 2009 Standard Bank Young Artist Award for Visual Arts.

•Theatre: Maya Zbib (Lebanon)
Selected by mentor Peter Sellars (United States)

For over a decade, Lebanese actor, writer and aspiring director Maya Zbib, 29, has been impressing critics with her subtle portrayals in widely diverse roles. Having acquired a Master’s in Performance Making in 2007 from Goldsmiths, University of London, Zbib has created and performed in solo work, including The Music Box, a performance-installation staged in people’s houses and showcased at international festivals. She currently co-manages Beirut’s Zoukak Theatre Company and Cultural Association, which she co-founded in 2006, and also teaches at Lebanese University’s Institute of Fine Arts.

•Film: Annemarie Jacir (Palestinian living in Jordan)
Selected by mentor Zhang Yimou (China)

Annemarie Jacir, 36, is a Palestinian film director and poet living in Jordan. She was named one of Filmmaker magazine’s 25 New Faces of Independent Cinema in 2004, a year after graduating with a Master’s in Fine Arts from New York’s Columbia University. Co-founder of the Dreams of a Nation project, dedicated to promoting Palestinian cinema, Jacir includes among her films like twenty impossibles (2003), an Official Selection of the Cannes Cinéfondation. Her debut feature, Salt of this Sea (2008), the first feature film by a female Palestinian director, was an Academy Award submission for Best Foreign Language Film. It was awarded the FIPRESCI International Critics’ Prize. Jacir is currently working on a new feature.

The Rolex Mentor and Protégé Arts Initiative was founded in 2002. The programme is organized by a specialist team based at Rolex headquarters in Geneva. Through an Advisory Board, which suggests the mentors, and expert nominating panels, six talented, young artists around the world are sought to work alongside six major artists in the fields of dance, film, literature, music, theatre and visual arts for a year of intense collaboration. Artists who have been mentors on the programme are: John Baldessari, Tahar Ben Jelloun, Sir Colin Davis, Anne Teresa De Keersmaeker, William Forsythe, Stephen Frears, Sir Peter Hall, David Hockney, Rebecca Horn, Jiří Kylián, Toni Morrison, Mira Nair, Youssou N’Dour, Jessye Norman, Martin Scorsese, Álvaro Siza, Wole Soyinka, Julie Taymor, Saburo Teshigawara, Mario Vargas Llosa, Kate Valk, Robert Wilson and Pinchas Zukerman.

The six selected protégés will each have their own individually tailored programme, providing time across the year for unique personal access to and creative dialogue with their mentor. The protégés will receive a grant of $25,000 each and are eligible for a further $25,000 towards the cost of creating a project following their mentoring year.

Rebecca Irvin, head of philanthropy at Rolex SA, said today: “Rolex is fortunate to have the support of such extraordinary individuals for the Mentor and Protégé Arts Initiative. We are confident that the exceptional, young talents will gain enduring benefits from this special access to the great artists of our time.”

London | Rolex Mentor and Protégé Arts Initiative | Trisha Brown | Brian Eno | Lee Serle | Ben Frost |

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