I’M SEATED in an Arabic coffee shop, dirge-like music in the heat-stricken air. I’m here to meet the directors of the Cape Town Art Fair and That Art Fair, Matthew Partridge and Brendon Bell-Roberts respectively. It’s a relay; the gladiator-directors don’t meet.If there’s a taste of the souk in a trade fair, there is also the quality of the arena, with the director of the Cape Town Art Fair as Goliath and the minion, That Art Fair, as David. This view, however, is promptly thwarted as I listen to each speak. We’re not dealing with a hierarchical power-play. Both directors have a clear sense of their mission: to sell art; broaden the market; deepen local taste; jettison parochialism in the name of a greater, more inclusive Africa.Given the cynicism which clings to the contemporary art world like a disease, both Partridge and Bell-Roberts display a certain integrity. For Partridge the objectives are straightforward: It’s “a three-way conversation with the SA art world, the continent, ...

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