Mary Kang

Mary Kang and Lizzie Chen, University of Texas and The Daily Texan alumnae, will have their photos displayed at the opening exhibit at the Asian American Resource Center.

Photo Credit: Shelby Tauber | Daily Texan Staff

Mary Kang moved to Austin from South Korea with her family 13 years ago, but a University of Texas photojournalism class opened her eyes to the Asian-American refugee community within her own city limits. 

On Saturday, the Asian American Resource Center (AARC) opens its doors and inside will hang Kang’s photographs of Nepalese and Bhutanese refugees living in Austin. Kang, a UT advertising alumna and former photographer for The Daily Texan, spent three years off-and-on with refugee families. She said the people she met inspired her to become interested in her own cultural background. 

“I have a choice to retain my culture. Sometimes I’m like, ‘Well, I live in America now,’” Kang said. “It’s easy for me to forget my own traditions.”

Kang’s photos on exhibition at the AARC offer a glimpse into the lives of Asian-American refugees in Austin. Kang, an immigrant herself, understood the difficulty adjusting to a completely new country, but she notes that her family chose to move to the United States while the families she spent time with did not. 

“They are scattered around and they don’t have their own country to belong to. They do everything together because they are really afraid to lose their culture,” Kang
said. “I thought the photo story could help in archiving their stories.” 

Lizzie Chen, a visual storyteller for a local nonprofit, also has photos in the opening exhibit at the AARC. Chen followed one refugee family from Myanmar that spent 10 years in a Thai refugee camp to create her series “Strangers in a New Land.” 

“Most people, when they do photo essays, they tend to focus on the sad part of the story,” Chen said. “But I didn’t want to only document that struggle. I wanted to capture the beauty. These people have hope. They do miss Myanmar and Thailand, but they tell me all the time they’re so much happier here.” 

The theme of the opening exhibit at AARC is “Asian Texans: Untold Stories.” While both Kang and Chen’s photography showcases some of these stories, Lesley Varghese, executive director of the AARC, said they were chosen because they are young Asian-American women contributing to the greater Austin art scene. 

“I think showing the diversity of interest and skills in our community is important because I think there are a lot of stereotypes about what Asian Americans do and are good at and interested in,”
Varghese said.

Varghese and board member Richard Jung hope the AARC provides a jumping off point for more young people to pursue their own creative projects. 

“I was surprised we didn’t have that before, because I just think there are so many immigrants coming to America from Asia’ and there’s a lot coming to Austin as well,” Kang said. “There are a lot of stories that are not being told, so I just think it’s important to archive these stories and celebrate the cultures.” 

Editor’s Note: In the interest of full disclosure, both Kang and Chen are University of Texas and The Daily Texan alumnae.

A Walk Along Speedway


Mary Kang | Daily Texan Staff

A man walks along Speedway in front of the Larry R. Faulkner Nano Science and Technology Building Tuesday afternoon.

White Balloons

Mary Kang | Daily Texan Staff

Maria Arellano decorates the courtyard of Wild Flower apartment complex, located on North Lamar Boulevard, to celebrate communion of children for her Catholic church members on Saturday afternoon.

Allens Boots

Mary Kang | Daily Texan Staff

Ian A. Weinstein from Vermont walks in front of Allens Boots on South Congress on Thursday afternoon. Weinstein often walks around Austin and plays music.


Pick of the Pics - August, 2011

It is already August and Pick of the Pics is back. That means 10 of our favorite pictures from past and current photographers are selected by the summer photo editor Mary Kang.


May-Ying Lam | The Daily Texan

Ayan Ali, 15, watches prayers from the side of the Crockett Center with her sister, Nimo Ali, 13, at the Eid al-Adha communal prayer organized by the North Austin Muslim Community Center, Renaissance Academy and Masjid Ibrahim.  The two attended the event with their parents to which an estimated 5,000 showed up. (Sept. 12, 2008)

Jeffrey McWhorter | Daily Texan Staff

CPS Commissioner testifies before a house committee about the agency's response to allegations of abuse in the YFZ FLDS compound last year. (April 15, 2009)

Sara Young | Daily Texan Staff

Oscar Paiz, Barton Springs Nursery employee of three years, removes weeds from the nursery’s agave farm in Weberville, Texas. The nursery has seen an increased demand for vegetable plants and fruit trees during the economic downturn. (Nov. 25, 2009)

Jessica Talley | Daily Texan Staff

Spencer Bell, 5, observes the rainy weather through Urban Outfitters window on Guadalupe. (April 21, 2006)

Jeremy Balkin | Daily Texan Staff

Avery Griffin takes a nap on steps on the corner of Eighth and San Antonio streets near the Austin Public Library downtown. (Oct. 27, 2006)

Marc Hamel | Daily Texan Staff

Doug Moreland works on a custom wood sculpture at the Star of Texas Fair & Rodeo in Austin. Moreland and his co-workers at Cattlelacs in Manchaca use mainly chainsaws with small blades to carve works such as this eagle. (March 23, 2006)

Megan Peyton | Daily Texan Staff

Michael Foulk, member of the Austin band Widows and Orphans, enjoys a drink and a cigarette while reading a book at Spider House Cafe. Foulk was killing time before picking up a friend from work and said he “was just trying not to fall asleep.” (July 12, 2007)

Peter Franklin | Daily Texan Staff

Events surrounding the Lonestar Rod and Kustom Round Up brought thousands of people to South Congress Avenue in early 2010.  Marathons, parades and conventions attract visitors from around the country to Austin, helping to strengthen the local economy. (May 12, 2010)

Rene Huynh | Daily Texan Staff

Sociology senior D’wayne Bell marvels at the amount of snow falling in Austin, which has been previously known to only produce barely-there flurries. (February 24, 2010)

Danielle Villasana | Daily Texan Staff

Danielle Harris, 10, and Ethan Estrada, 2, play on the playground at Chestnut Community park, which offers fountains, a playscape and a covered picnic area. (August 5, 2010)

Pick of the Pics - July, 2011

It is already July and Pick of the Pics is back. That means ten of our favorite pictures from past and current photographers are selected by the Summer photo editor Mary Kang.

Jeffrey McWhorter | Daily Texan Staff

Two men affix inflatable Christmas decorations to the top of the Millenium Youth Entertainment Complex.  The Millenium Center is located in East Austin on Rosewood Street and provides area kids with a place for recreation such as bowling, roller skating and movies. (December 4, 2008)

Karina Jacques | Daily Texan Staff

Helen Schneider, an Economics Professor, Andrea Howland, a Speech Pathology senior and Julie Pietak, an RTF major are surprised by the sudden rain on Guadalupe Street. (August 13, 2009)

Andrea Lai | Daily Texan Staff

On Wednesday, the first day of Ramadan, Abdul Rashid Asadullah (left) meditates and recites his Salah, or ritual prayer, in the Islamic Center of Greater Austin while kneeling in the direction of Mecca. During the month of Ramadan, Muslims fast from dawn to sunset to grow closer to Allah through prayer and worship. (September 13, 2007)

Kim Espinosa | Daily Texan Staff

Jill Morlang travels across the floor in a jazz routine in a workshop held by Hubbard Street Dance Company. (October 13, 2006)

May-Ying Lam | Daily Texan Staff

Contestants share a moment before taking to the stage for the Miss Juneteenth Scholarship Pageant. (June 15, 2009)

Peyton Coker | Daily Texan Staff

Two people canoe under the Lamar bridge at Lady Bird Lake. (September 24, 2008)

Peter Franklin | Daily Texan Staff

Students scuba dive at the Lee and Joe Jamail Texas Swimming Center during their basic scuba diving class.  By the end of the course, students can become NAUI certified after an open water dive at Lake Travis. (April 15, 2008)

Caleb Bryant Miller | Daily Texan Staff

An artist performs during the gallery show Future Prologues at Flatbed Press. (October 20, 2008)

Tamir Kalifa | Daily Texan Staff

RTF Senior Fatima Carbajal tests an art installation in the stairwell of the William Randolph Hurst Building.  The final project for the RTF Video Installation course is designed transform the image of the Communications Buildings by covering them in projected light. (May 7, 2009)

Sara Young | Daily Texan Staff

Yolanda Cortes, visiting from Brooklyn, enjoys a sunny day below Barton Springs pool among local Austin families. (April 16, 2009)

Pick of the Pics - June, 2011


This is Mary Kang and Andrew Torrey, your  Summer 2011 Daily Texan photo editor and associate photo editor. Here's a little compilation of our favorite wild art, or photography shot around the University and the world, for the month of June.

Check back at the beginning of every month to see ten of the best pictures from past and current Daily Texan photographers.


Mary Kang & Andrew Torrey

Peter Franklin | Daily Texan Staff

Teenagers illegally dive from the Steeplechase Pier, Coney Island while watching for police who may stop them. 

William Paul Wentzell | Daily Texan Staff

Jian Yang, a Plant Biology graduate student, makes a call on his cell phone outside Wanfu Too restaurant on Barton Springs Road.

Jeffrey McWhorter | Daily Texan Staff

Joey Gutierrez, 14, gets his haircut by Jeremy Lopez, 19, at Booker T. Washington Terraces in East Austin. Lopez, who graduated from nearby Austin Can Academy, hopes to get into cosmetology school to cut hair professionally.


Emily Kinsolving  | Daily Texan Staff

Goetz von Totenburg and Zach Most fight in a medieval style tournament at Patterson Park tennis courts in East Austin.  Von Totenburg and Most  are members of the Society for Creative Anachronism which meets weekly.  Opponents battle until the first hypothetically fatal blow ends the match. 

Jeff Heimsath | Daily Texan Staff

Tourists visiting Austin look through Blanton Museum of Art.

Daniela Trujillo | Daily Texan Staff

A passerby stands beside the East Village Mural on Rosewood Avenue in East Austin.  The mural depicts a group of shoeshiners working together in Austin.  

Danielle Villasana | Daily Texan Staff

Proudly carrying their catch of the day, three young boys follow their mother down the beach. Sayulitans use homemade fishing rods made from Coca-Cola bottles as an inexpensive and efficient way to catch fish right off the shoreline.

Allen Otto | Daily Texan Staff

Jose Gonzalez packs mounted deer heads at The Corner Shoppe for a sale later this week is Fort Worth.

Mary Kang | Daily Texan Staff

Charlotte Ribas, 6, and Helena Ribas, 4, feed the pigeons on Pfluger Pedestrian Bridge while their family was out to watch Austin Marathon and Half Marathon runners.

Andrew Torrey | Daily Texan Staff

Samuel Olivo rides his mule, Mula, on Guadalupe Street. While it is legal to ride a horse or mule on public streets in Austin, Olivo was arrested for a DWI while riding Mula last month.