Sir David Adjaye selects Mariam Kamara as his protégée for Rolex Arts Initiative


Sir David Adjaye with his protégée Mariam Kamara. Image Courtesy of Rolex Arts Initiative

Sir David Adjaye with his protégée Mariam Kamara. Image Courtesy of Rolex Arts Initiative

Rolex has announced four new mentors and protégés for the prestigious Rolex Arts Initiative. In the architecture category, Sir David Adjaye was selected as mentor and Niger-based architect Mariam Kamara will be his protégée in 2018-2019.

The Ghana-born British architect Sir David Adjaye is renowned for major projects worldwide such as the Smithsonian Institution’s National Museum of African American History and Culture, in Washington DC. He heads the firm Adjaye Associates.

Mariam Kamara, 38, is founder and Principal of atelier masōmī. Rolex describes Kamara as an architect “dedicated to designing spaces and structures that respond to the needs of people in her homeland, Niger, and all of Africa.”

In keeping with its tradition of supporting individual excellence, the Rolex Arts Initiative is meant to give emerging artists time to learn, create and grow. This year, the 2018-2019 program will run for an extended period of two years to give protégés more time to work with their mentors. In the previous years, this program has lasted for 12 months. 

Rebecca Irvin, Head of Philanthropy at Rolex, explained that the new schedule would enables them to provide greater flexibility for the mentor-protégé pairs in planning their work together. It will also help accommodate collaborations in fields where works need longer periods to develop.

To make the mentorship program even more attractive, funding has been substantially increased as well. Protégés will receive 40,000 Swiss francs and their mentors will get an honorarium of 100,000 Swiss francs. A further 30,000 Swiss francs is also available to protégées at the end of the mentoring period to support the creation of new work.

The Rolex Mentor and Protégé Arts Initiative is a philanthropic programme that was set up to make a contribution to global culture. Since 2002, it has paired mentors and protégés in dance, film, literature, music, theatre, visual arts and architecture. 

Rolex made the announcement at a gala ceremony in Berlin celebrating the end of the previous 2016-2017 mentoring year. For that year, Sir David Chipperfield was chosen as mentor in the architecture category and Simon Kretz was his Protege. Past pairs also include: Álvaro Siza and Sahel Al-HiyariKazuyo Sejima and Yang Zhao, and Peter Zumthor and Gloria Cabral.

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