Brother Allen Uzikee Nelson
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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.