UZIKEE is a one-hour documentary being produced by filmmaker Doug Harris about the life of a reno
UZIKE documentary Film about Washington DC sculptor premiering February 24th

BERKELEY -Documentaries that include landmark historical content can be very special when the films are completed in time for reflection of such anniversaries. In the case of Berkeley filmmaker Doug Harris’ new 90-minute documentary UZIKEE: Washington DC’s Ancestral Sculptor, will premiere Saturday, February 24, 2018 at the East Bay Media Center in Berkeley, California..

The film begins with a reflection of the accounts that occurred on April 4, 1968 when Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. was assassinated. News of the tragic event in Memphis would immediately trigger a wave of riots across the country, with one of the worst taking place in the nation’s capital which ultimately destroyed large parts of the area’s black community.

Several of the country’s black leaders worked closely with Dr. Cleveland Dennard to fast track the opening of the Washington Technical Institute (which later became the University of the District of Columbia). “Had the riots in 1968 not occurred, I would have never come to DC to work, states founding engineering professor Uzikee Nelson. “They needed educators who could help teach and train the young people for the rebuilding effort.” Prior to coming to Washington DC to teach in 1971, Uzikee Nelson worked as engineering training manager for McDonnell Douglas (St. Louis) and Caterpillar (Peoria, Illinois).

The UZIKEE documentary takes viewers on a journey through his life growing up in Tupelo, Mississippi and Peoria, Illinois, that closely examines the forms of racism he experienced, shaping him into an acclaimed ancestral art sculptor. During the 1970s, Nelson created a number of afro-centric abstract sculptures that he regularly displayed at art galleries and festivals, including several years at the infamous African Liberation Day celebrations at the District of Columbia’s Malcolm X Park. When Uzikee later expanded the size of his artwork, the problem arose as to where would he put it. He intuitively found homes for his massive public art sculptures by adopting several triangular public parks around the district.

“Uzikee’s art represents a pioneering effort to introduce to the wider DC area african-centric art into public spaces,” says Vincent deForest, a former
director for the US National Park Service. “He brings to the public, an expression of public art that we haven’t seen in very many places throughout the whole country.” Uzikee’s eye-catching works-of-art pay tribute to significant black pioneers, and are three dimensional free standing works made of weathering steel and stained glass. The tall iconic public sculptures are his way of helping to bridge the gap between African and Western culture. “My inspiration for creating these expressions of art stem from my interest in reading books about black history and learning more about my own family roots,” says Uzikee. “These sculptures provide beauty and a light of positive energy to the community.” Nelson’s collection of sculptures of historical black figures around Washington DC include: Malcolm X, Marcus Garvey, Thurgood Marshall, Paul Robeson, and his mentor Dr. Cleveland Dennard from WTI.

The film also takes a close look inside the phenomenon of gentrification in the Washington DC area. Once known as the Chocolate City, Uzikee’s Northwest community has undergone a sweeping transformation at the quickest rate in the entire country. “Uzikee Nelson is an individual who has had a tremendous impact in the Washington DC area,” states filmmaker Doug Harris. “His story is one that can motivate and inspire people from all walks of life to overcome obstacles and barriers. I feel that Uzikee’s gift of public art to the District of Columbia is a true testiment of his love for the community, and I’m happy to have enlightened people about his life through this colorful story.”

wned sculptor whose public art infuses African design and aesthetics into peoples everyday subconscious cultin and around the Washington D.C. area.