Sketch Connection – Artist dines out on a Roman holiday sketch

THE unique talents of a New Norfolk artist and business owner have been recognised by one of Australia’s most prominent media figures, with a fantastic story behind their meeting.

Alex Okenyo is the owner of Black Swan Bookshop on Stephen Street, which also serves as a unique coffee shop, though his talents span well beyond that.

Okenyo is also an artist.

His creations are currently on display at Bett Gallery in Hobart, but it is one of his smaller pieces that caught the eye of one of the nation’s respected journalists, Annabel Crabb.

The story goes that in 2018 Crabb was dining in a restaurant in Rome with her family when a fellow diner handed her a sketch of herself and her family, drawn on the back of a receipt.

Crabb had carried the sketch in her wallet ever since, and it wasn’t until she showed the drawing to friends earlier this year that it was identified as New Norfolk’s own Alex Okenyo.

Alex had been travelling with his partner Sarah at the time, and his chance meeting in Rome with Crabb was one of their last evenings before they headed back home.

Crabb recently took to Instagram to share the fascinating story and give her thanks for the wonderful art to Okenyo, as well as throwing in a little bit of nationwide promotion for his works at the Bett Gallery.

“It’s getting a lot of coverage, but I think it’s because it’s just such a nice story,” Okenyo said.

“People are looking for happy things in the news today.”

“Unfortunately I’ve sold out of her new book, which would have made for a great picture.”

“Connections across the world are just a conversation or sketch away.”