Finalists 2016, Opportunity of a lifetime

2016-2017 finalists announced

World search uncovers top new talent in architecture, film and music

Three rising artists, from a group of 10 young people from nine countries, are each about to be given the opportunity of a lifetime – spending a year working face to face with one of the world’s most renowned artistic masters in the 2016-2017 Rolex Mentor and Protégé Arts Initiative. 


Rolex has announced the names of the 10 finalists for architecture, film and music, three of whom will be selected as Protégés in this international programme which, over the past 14 years, has paired 43 young artists – protégés – with 43 world masters – mentors. Past protégés in the Arts Initiative, which was launched in 2002, have benefited from a range of professional and artistic advantages – principally the inspiration and practical knowledge acquired by working closely with their Rolex mentor for a year, along with international publicity about the protégés, and a chance to enlarge their network of contacts in their own and other disciplines. 


Each finalist was chosen by a panel of artists and experts convened for his or her discipline which considered up to 20 young artists nominated after a worldwide search for the great artists of tomorrow. All nominated artists had submitted substantial dossiers of their work to the relevant panel.


In the coming weeks, the finalists will be interviewed by the mentor for their discipline who will then choose the protégé.


The 2016-2017 architecture mentor, Sir David Chipperfield, from the UK, will choose his protégé from:

Luis Callejas, 34, Colombia

Simon Kretz, 33, Switzerland

Anna Puigjaner, 35, Spain


The film mentor, Alfonso Cuarón, will select one of the following finalists: 

Mati Diop, 33, France/Senegal

Sofia Exarchou, 36, Greece

Shireen Seno, 32, Philippines

Chaitanya Tamhane, 29, India


Music mentor, composer Philip Glass, from the US, will choose from the following finalists:

Ishaan Chhabra, 25, India

Nadah El Shazly, 26, Egypt

Paula Cristina Sasaki Otani, 34, Peru


The names of the artists chosen as protégés will be announced in June, with the mentoring year beginning in July.


The finalists for the programme’s four other disciplines ─ dance, literature, theatre and visual arts ─ were announced in February. The mentors in these categories are Ohad Naharin (dance), Mia Couto (literature), Robert Lepage (theatre) and Joan Jonas (visual arts). 


“Only one of the talented young artists can be chosen as the protégé in each discipline, but to be a finalist in the programme already marks the individual as an emerging talent,” said Rebecca Irvin, Head of Philanthropy at Rolex. “We are always amazed at both the diversity and depth of these individuals’ artistry. It is a real challenge for each senior artist to choose only one young artist to mentor.” 


As well as the artistic and professional benefits, each protégé will receive 25,000 Swiss francs to support his or her participation in the programme, with a further 25,000 Swiss francs available to create a new work at the conclusion of the mentoring year. Mentors are asked to spend up to six weeks with their protégés over the 12 months but in most cases mentor and protégé spend months or even the entire year working together.