Topah Spoonhunter’s work reflects his heritage as a descendant of the Paiute and Arapaho tribes.

INDEPENDENCE — Manzanar National Historic Site is hosting a new exhibit on the Visitor Center’s gallery wall.

Artist Topah Spoonhunter’s exhibit opened on Nov. 17 and will run until Jan. 31, 2020. His pieces reflect his, and broadly other Indigenous peoples’, connection to the Owens Valley.

Manzanar, though established primarily to preserve the Japanese American incarceration experience during WWII, has many layers of history. The first layer is the presence of the Paiute and other Indigenous peoples who have been living in the place that would become Manzanar for thousands of years.

Spoonhunter is an enrolled member of the Northern Arapaho Tribe and grew up on the Big Pine Paiute Reservation in Big Pine. With a formal education in business, his professional career has included work for nonprofit organizations, local government, and various tribal governments. He is a self-taught artist and designer who is always looking for new challenges.

Being a descendant of the Paiute and Arapaho tribes, one of his greatest sources of inspiration has been his culture. Topah believes that tribal cultures across North and South America not only offer valid ways of viewing the world, but have also developed effective methods of addressing the human condition. Topah’s art is a reflection of this belief.

Manzanar National Historic Site is located at 5001 Highway 395, six miles south of Independence and nine miles north of Lone Pine. The Visitor Center is open daily from 9 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.

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