Twenty-five young artists from 21 countries have been selected as finalists for the 2014-2015 Rolex Mentor and Protégé Arts Initiative. One young artist in each of the seven disciplines will be selected as a protégé for 12 months of one-to-one collaboration with leading artists Olafur Eliasson, Alejandro González Iñárritu, Michael Ondaatje, Alexei Ratmansky, Kaija Saariaho, Jennifer Tipton and Peter Zumthor.
The names of the seven protégés will be announced in May. The finalists, who range from 22 to 38 years of age, were selected from 154 nominees. They come from 21 countries, with all regions of the world represented: Asia (four finalists), Europe (six), North America (three), South America (five), Africa (five) and the Middle East (two).
They were shortlisted after an intensive global search by Rolex to find gifted young artists who would greatly benefit from a year’s guidance by an artistic master. In each of the seven disciplines, a voluntary, international panel of artistic leaders and experts nominates more than 20 young artists, who are then invited by Rolex to apply to be a protégé. Each panel then meets to consider the applications and choose three or four of the applicants who the panel believes would be ideal protégés. Those shortlisted candidates will now meet the mentor in their discipline, who will choose a protégé.
The African nominees for the Visual Arts are:
Sammy Baloji who is a 35-year-old artist photographer, born in the Democratic Republic of Congo and now based in Belgium. Founder of Picha Art Center and Lubumbashi Biennale, he wants to create an experimental atelier in Congo that would support artists and nurture local creation in this politically and economically uncertain environment.
Dineo Seshee Bopape who is a 32-year-old South African visual artist who is inspired by Lewis Carroll, Salman Rushdie, Paul Auster and Bessie Head, as well as artists David Hammons and Daniel Bovhkov – all creators who make her think about time, place and magic.