Art in Harlem: “Le Retour” by Ousmane Gueye

Paula Coleman, Director of RFA Gallery

My favorite piece.

As I was taking a stroll through Harlem on a sunny Saturday afternoon, I stumbled upon an art gallery. I remember thinking that I’ve walked this intersection of Harlem many times and have never noticed it. I stopped to admire the artwork  when I noticed a figure inside the gallery waving at me from a distance. Naturally, I waved back, then heard the sound of a buzzer, which led me to open the door. A blank wall featured the words: OUSMANE GUEYE “Le Retour”(meaning: The Comeback). I walked past various statues of all shapes and sizes all in the appearance of women, all the way back to greet the figure that waved at me from afar.  The fabulous Harlemite, Paula Coleman, Director of Renaissance Fine Art Gallery, walked from the back office to say hello. Her friendly demeanor immediately encouraged me to explore the art and led me to ask her more about her work and her thoughts on Harlem.

Before becoming the director of Renaissance Fine Art, Ms. Coleman co-owned  P.C.O.G. gallery in Harlem with Ousmane Gueye,  RFA’s current artist on exhibit and world-renowned sculptor for six years. I’ve learned that Ousmane Gueye was born in Dakar, Senegal, and studied art in Paris. His work with marble, ebony wood, alabaster, and other stones has made a positive impression on many, which led to exhibits in galleries throughout the world, including Europe, Japan,  and Africa. Mr. Gueye worked in his outdoor studio in Harlem for 13 years before he moved back to France in 2007 where he is now residing with his family.

After I learned about the artist, Paula and I spoke about the wonderful art community she’s part of in Harlem, where she shops (because she looks amazing), and other random things I could think of. Paula mentioned Bebe Noir, a boutique on Frederick Douglas, owned by creative and young people of African descent (like me as she puts it). I’m definitely intrigued to check it out, and I’m even more excited to find more galleries and meet interesting other interesting people like Paula in the Harlem art and fashion community. The funny thing is right after I left the gallery, I noticed another one right next door to it. For someone who claims to be observant, how could I have missed them?!

I’m working on some “Paola Harlem Day Guides” posts, and this gallery will definitely be part of the activities. Stay tuned for more Harlem posts! :)

8 Comments on Art in Harlem: “Le Retour” by Ousmane Gueye

  1. Natacha Aubry
    February 5, 2014 at 9:02 am (2 years ago)

    Hi ! I’m Natacha and I manage Ousmane Gueye’s website. I made a link on his website to your post (just here :, could I share it on his facebook page too ? :)
    Gorgeous pictures by the way !!!

    • findingpaola
      February 5, 2014 at 12:00 pm (2 years ago)

      Of course! Thanks for sharing!

  2. Patricia Martin
    November 29, 2012 at 4:34 pm (3 years ago)

    If ever you come around in France, come and visite the new Ousmane’s workshop in Soeurdres in Maine et Loire Department and discover his latest pieces of art.

    • findingpaola
      December 1, 2012 at 12:14 pm (3 years ago)

      That’s sounds very fun! I’ll definitely keep that in mind. Thanks for sharing!

  3. Gyption
    November 27, 2012 at 7:55 am (3 years ago)

    Sometimes when I see art, I feel like a chill of excitement shoot through my soul and these photos did that. Beautiful…
    I so much wish I lived in NYC where you can find so many amazing places that display such things, but for now, I just enjoy them on your blog :)

    • findingpaola
      November 27, 2012 at 5:45 pm (3 years ago)

      That woman was amazing. And when I came back home, I did some research on the artist, and saw a video of the younger version of him with awesome dreadlocks! Harlem is so awesome. I want that giant statue although it would take have of my studio apartment! Hahaha. OK, I’ll wait when I get a real home.


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