Kazuyo Sejima, the founder of renowned architecture firm SANAA, guided a young Chinese architect in designing a “Home for All” on the tsunami-wracked island of Miyatojima as a part of the 2012–2013 Rolex Mentor & Protégé Arts Initiative.

Yang Zhao worked together with Sejima to design a space that could serve as a meeting space for the residents of the island, which lies off of northeastern Miyagi Prefecture. Zhao also met with the people of Kesennuma to create a project that would serve the needs of the community. At the beginning of the project, Zhao explained that he hoped “to experience a challenging and creative collaboration process with Sejima-san, to learn from the design culture in Japan, and to make my contribution to the whole reconstruction project.” Zhao and Sejima met eight times during the year as the project developed.


The Home for All building (AFASIA)

The Initiative is a program that pairs young artists from around the world with established masters in
such fields as dance, music, and film. For a year, the artists work together in a mentoring relationship. The 2012–2013 season culminated at an event where seven of the world’s most renowned artists and their gifted young protégés traveled to Venice for the Rolex Arts Weekend on 19–20 October. The Protégés held premières of a series of new performances and exhibitions, accompanied by interviews and discussions. Many other leading artists, actors and directors with links to the Rolex program also attended the events at the Fondazione Giorgio Cini.

At the Rolex Arts Weekend, looped films showing stop-frame construction of the “Home for All” project were shown in a 1950s-era swimming pool on the Cini’s grounds.

Eduardo Fukushima, a Brazilian dancer of Japanese and Italian descent, was also one of the highlight Protégé performers in Venice. Fukushima, a dancer from São Paulo, Brazil, moved to Taiwan for a year to study and work with Lin Hwai-min, the Artistic Director of Cloud Gate Dance Theatre and the 2012–2013 Mentor for Dance. Fukushima premiered Crooked Man, a contemporary piece created under Lin’s inspiration, in the Cini’s Palladio Refectory.

Other highlights from the event included a concert by Egyptian music protégée Dina El Wedidi, who was mentored by Brazilian legend Gilberto Gil; an animated film produced by Colombian visual arts protégé Mateo López and mentor William Kentridge; and British literature protégée Naomi Alderman spirited collaborative reading and discussion with her mentor, the Canadian novelist Margaret Atwood.

Clips of protégés Zhao and Fukushima can be seen in the video carousel below:

For more information about the Initiative, please see the Rolex Mentor & Protégés Arts Initiative website and the site, Journey.

Post sponsored by Rolex.