|Allen Uzikee Nelson was born in 1938, into the
family of John and Sarita Nelson in Tupelo,Mississippi. Uzikee,
as he is now more affectionately known, is the fifth of the Nelson's
seven children. In 1965, Uzikee received a Bachelor of Science,
in Engineering Technology from the Southern Illinois University
in Carbondale, Illinois. Nelson, subsequently became a faculty member
at the University of the District of Columbia, in its Electrical
and Mechanical Engineering Technology Department. This
experience contributed immensely to his sound technological base
for his work as an artist. In 1970, Nelson created his first
major work of art -- a fifteen foot steel sculpture commissioned
by the NAACP for a neighborhood park in Peoria, Illinois. UZIKEE,
now a full-time conveyor of iconic African art, has practiced some
form of artistic expression his entire life. In describing
his philosophy, Nelson says, "all art is representative of culture."
UZIKEE'S icons are intended to rejuvenate our ancestral
memory,to educate, to improve the self-esteem of African-Americans
and to infuse African design and aesthetics into the subconscious
culture. His sculptures are designed to bridge the gap between
African ritual and abstract art, as well as bridge the gap between
African and Western culture. As a sculptor who works primarily
with weathering steel and stained glass,UZIKEE's works are free
standing pieces. According to UZIKEE, "all of my works are
three dimensional, yet a the same time flat in characteristics
and usually Janus-faced."
UZIKEE's work has been exhibited in some of the culturally
friendly institutions for the last 30 years, including the Washington
Technical Institute - predecessor of the University of Columbia,
Howard University,The Martin Luther King Library, the International
Monetary Fund and the Industrial Bank of Washington. Since
retirement ,he works exclusively in outdoor sculptures for culturally
diverse public spaces. Uzikee's installation, Saint Dennard,
is gigantic and it is installed at 16th and Arkansas Avenue, N.W.
Other UZIKEE installations, including pieces entitled Marcus Garvey/Malcolm
X are located at 1440 Belmont Street, N.W. The Arkansas Avenue
and Belmont Street sites are on the local and National African-American
Heritage tour sites in the District of Columbia. Uzikee's
most recent installation (Here I Stand) in the Spirit of Paul
Robeson is at Georgia Ave. and Kansas Ave.,. N.W.
Washington,D.C., And will be on the future Georgia Avenue tours.
1464 Belmont St. N.W.
Washington, DC 20009
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