International and local artistic minds come together at Baxter

International and local artistic minds come together at Baxter

The Baxter Theatre will play host to some of the brightest artistic minds of our age this weekend for the special event ‘A Unique Gathering: Rolex Mentors And Protégés’.
The weekend’s events will culminate with William Kentridge, Wole Soyinka and Peter Sellars, three of the greatest international artists today, taking to the Baxter Concert Hall stage for one night only on Saturday April 6 at 8pm for a discussion entitled ‘Turning the world into material’.

This one of a kind artistic event pairs artistic masters with talented young artists for a creative collaboration across seven disciplines – architecture, dance, film, literature, music, theatre and visual arts.

The aim is to contribute to global culture by ensuring that the world’s artistic heritage is passed from one generation to another.
Kentridge, Sellars and Soyinka’s eight protégés have been selected from around the world and include South Africa’s Lara Foot (theatre), Edem Awumey (literature, Togo) Maya Zbib (theatre Lebanon), 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 weekend’s programme, which includes four public events, starts on Friday April 5 at 4pm with a workshop by South African visual and theatre artist Kentridge entitled ‘Getting Started’, which explores the origin of ideas and impulses and how they become artistic material.

Later that day Aurelio Martínez will perform with Neo Muyanga and Friends in the Baxter Concert Hall at 8pm. He has been praised for his ability to fuse African and Caribbean-Indian influences and will be sharing the stage with a local band.
On Saturday April 6 at 3pm Sellars, a world-renowned American opera, theatre and festival director, will lead a workshop entitled ‘Artists on the front line’.

Themes such as “How do artists respond to conflict?” and “How can they be part of the solution?” will be explored.
The public events will culminate with the Saturday evening Concert Hall discussion involving all the mentors.

Baxter CEO LARA FOOT answered some questions relating to the prestigious event.

How would you explain ‘A Unique Gathering: Rolex Mentors and Protégés’ in layman’s terms and why that name?
The name simply describes the extraordinary character of the event. It is a gathering of several of the outstanding mentors and protégés who have participated in the Rolex Mentor and Protégé Arts Initiative programme since it was launched in 2002.
The event is an example of what the programme was created to achieve: an enriching dialogue between artists of different generations, cultures and disciplines. The public events were created to give the local community a chance to share in this dialogue.
Even after the mentoring year finishes, Rolex continues to keep in touch with the protégés, following their careers with interest and documenting their progress on the initiative’s website ( From time to time, protégés have the opportunity to meet, but this is the first time there has been a formal gathering of such magnitude and the first time the Arts Initiative has organized an event in Africa.

How does this weekend fit in with the greater Rolex Mentor and Protégé Arts Initiative?
The Rolex Mentor and Protégé Arts Initiative was initiated over a decade ago with a long-term goal of creating a network of artists – both great artistic masters and bright young stars – who would benefit from the interaction between generations and nationalities and from contact with each other.
Rolex is now seeing the fruits of the programme as the mentors refresh their own outlook on their discipline by viewing their art through younger eyes and, significantly, as protégés around the world have begun working together on projects. The unique gathering at the Baxter Theatre Centre is the best example we have to date of this cross-pollination of disciplines.

Why Kentridge, Sellars and Soyinka?
They were invited to take part because they have been outstanding mentors in the programme and they were enthusiastic about the opportunity to take part and to interact with the protégés. Kentridge and Soyinka are, of course, from Africa, South Africa and Nigeria respectively, and Peter Sellars often works in Africa.

* Tickets range in price for the various events from around R50 for student tickets to R180.
Booking is through Computicket.