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Art Basel 2019

South African art fair gets reboot under a new owner

Johannesburg-based FNB Joburg fair has been bought by its former director Mandla Sibeko

Joost Bosland from Stevenson Gallery, Liza Essers from Goodman Gallery and Jonathan Garnham from Blank Projects, who are all involved in the Art Joburg fair © David Owens

South Africa’s FNB Joburg Art Fair is being sold to its former director, Mandla Sibeko, and relaunched as FNB Art Joburg (13-15 September), focused on the art of the Global South and spearheaded by a group of the country’s top galleries.

A group of six South African galleries—including the Art Basel exhibitors Goodman Gallery and Stevenson and the Liste exhibitor Blank Projects—decided to stop participating at the Joburg Art Fair after last year’s edition and approached Sibeko about acquiring and relaunching it. “The opportunity to host a truly world-class fair comes with a great responsibility to uphold a standard that reflects the quality of our African artists,” Sibeko says.

Ross Douglas, a stakeholder and former director of the Joburg Art Fair, confirmed: “We are selling the Joburg Art Fair to a new buyer called Mandla Sibeko.” The new fair will be held in the same venue, the Sandton Convention Centre, over the same dates.

Focused on galleries from the content, Art Joburg will be smaller, with around 10-15 exhibitors in the main section and a further “incubator” section of smaller stands for younger galleries which will have an accompanying mentorship programme.