Rolex Arts Initiative Mentors Select 2012 Protégés

The jury has spoken: Rolex Arts Initiative mentors Margaret Atwood, Patrice Chéreau, Gilberto Gil, William Kentridge, Lin Hwai-min, Walter Murch have chosen their protégés for the year.

The mentors, all highly regarded experts in their fields, made their selections after an extensive year-long search. Each ‘student’, all well-established in their own right, will receive 25,000 Swiss francs from Rolex to support his or her participation in the programme. At the end of the mentoring year, the hopefully wiser, more experienced protege will also be eligible for an additional 25,000 Swiss francs, for the creation of a new work.

Here’s a quick look at who chose whom:


British author Naomi Alderman, 37, graduated from Oxford in 1996 and received a Master’s in creative writing from the University of East Anglia in 2003. Three years later, she published “Disobedience”, a novel about the tensions and accommodations between religion and modern life, for which she won the 2006 Orange Award for New Writers. In 2007, she was named The Sunday Times Young Writer of the Year. She also writes computer games and recently co-created “Zombies, Run!”, a successful iPhone app and audio adventure for runners.


Italian film editor Sara Fgaier, 29, studied history of film at Bologna University and taught herself the elements of her profession. Her first editing job was “La bocca del lupo” (The Mouth of the Wolf, 2009), the hauntingly poetic, award-winning documentary on which she also worked as archival researcher and first assistant director with director Pietro Marcello. In 2011, she edited Marcello’s “Il silenzio di Pelešjan” (The Silence of Pelešjan) and Michele Manzolini and Federico Ferrone’s “Il treno va a Mosca” (The Train to Moscow).


Polish theatre director Michal Borczuch, 32, received Master’s degrees from both Kraków’s Academy of Fine Arts and Ludwik Solski State School of Drama, where he currently lectures. Since 2005, he has been directing plays in Polish theatres and at international cultural festivals, beginning with works by modern Polish playwrights and moving to the classics. He is known for mould-breaking productions that often challenge popular trends and tastes. Among his most recent adaptations are “Brand. The City. The Chosen Ones” (2011), and “Hans, Dora and Wolf” (2012).


Egyptian singer-songwriter Dina El Wedidi, 24, started composing songs when she was young and during university in Cairo where she studied oriental languages. From 2007 to 2010, El Wedidi worked as a singer and actress with the El Warsha Theatre Troupe, exploring Egyptian folklore and performing in such unlikely places as a Cairo prison. During this period, she also performed classical Egyptian and Arab songs with the Habayebna band, before establishing her own band in 2011.


Brazilian dancer and choreographer Eduardo Fukushima, 28, graduated in communication of the physical arts from the Pontifical Catholic University of São Paulo in 2011. He trained with many of Brazil’s leading figures in contemporary dance and created his first solo piece in 2004. More recently, he was acclaimed for “Between Contentions” (2008) and “How to Overcome the Great Tiredness?” (2009/2010). Both pieces follow a line of investigation that starts from gesture and movement.


Colombian visual artist Mateo López, 33, spent a year studying architecture at Javieriana University, but graduated in fine arts from the University of the Andes. His early studies in architecture equipped him to consider drawing in terms of time and space, and three rather than two dimensions. López is known for setting up his studio in public and for using memories of his personal journeys in his work, which is a trademark of his installations.