Pair is Selma Art Guild artist of the month

Published 12:00 am Sunday, March 2, 2008

The Selma Times-Journal

This month&8217;s featured artist at the Selma Art Guild Gallery uses mixed-media visuals to capture the essence of Black Belt history.

Herbert &8220;Mannie&8221; Pair III, a native of Mobile, produced the &8220;Fabric of the Past&8221; Heritage Art Series to pay homage to his ancestors, who lived and worked in Dallas County. Each piece represents someone in his family and is based during the period from the late 1800s to the early 1900s.

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The series will be on display at the Art Guild for the month of March. Pair said Dallas County was the desired location for the launch of the traveling exhibit, and with the Bridge Crossing Jubilee taking place next week, the timing for the launch was perfect.

A reception for Pair will be held at the Art Guild Gallery from 2-4 p.m., Mar. 9.

The &8220;Fabric of the Past&8221; series began with &8216;Grandma&8217;s Yo-Yo Quilt,&8217; which Pair created in 1995. In the work, Pair employs pieces of quilt that make yo-yo like shapes flow from his grandmother&8217;s lap.

Pair said he creates the pieces while his mother, Ada Minor-Pair, serves as the historian to make them authentic. &8220;I take the stories and bring them to life,&8221; Pair said.

Pair said the process of actually creating the pieces, once the concept is established, has four steps.

Pair first sketches the image on foam-core board. He places the fabric, and paints in the background. Pair then goes back to fill in details-an apple on a table, a design on a skirt, or details in a background.

Minor-Pair would tell him specific details of images, like the color of overalls the preacher wore in &8220;Down by the Riverside.&8221;

The 18-piece series has been a part of several exhibitions in Mobile, and continues to grow as an &8220;emerging exhibit.&8221;

More pieces will be added in the future as Pair takes the exhibit across the country.