Joe Wyatt
Published August 8, 2017

Longtime Amarillo-area resident and altruist Mary Emeny, who spent portions of 1967 and 1968 in war-torn Vietnam, will display a collection of her poignant photographs from that experience at Amarillo College.

Mary Emeny1inMary Emeny's photographs will be on display from Aug. 21 to Sept. 28.

The exhibit will be available for viewing from Aug. 21 to Sept. 28 in the Southern Light Gallery on the first floor of the Ware Student Commons at AC’s Washington Street Campus. The opening of the exhibit coincides on Sept. 21 with the International Day of Peace and includes a photographer's reception at 7 p.m., which is free and open to the public.

Emeny's presentation is titled “View from the Edge of the War Zone: Vietnam 1967-1968.” It will include excerpts from a journal Emeny kept while working in orphanages in DaNang and Hue under the auspices of a Quaker service organization – the American Friends Service Committee.

“The Vietnamese people were caught in the middle, just trying to survive,” said Emeny, who also worked briefly with the Red Cross following the TET Offensive. “The war was the peoples’ enemy,” she said, “not one side or the other.”

Emeny is well known for her community service and humanitarianism. She helped either establish or re-organize the Don Harrington Discovery Center, Amarillo Habitat for Humanity, Wildcat Nature Bluff, the Panhandle Promise Project, and more. She was named the Amarillo Globe-News Woman of the Year in 2001. Emeny also is a member of the board for The Democracy Collaborative.

She recollects having had only “a point-and-shoot camera and mostly Fuji film” at her disposal in Southeast Asia.

The Emeny exhibit is one of many activities planned at AC this year in conjunction with the Panhandle PBS release of The Vietnam War, a 10-part documentary film series directed by Ken Burns and Lynn Novick, which premieres on Sunday, Sept. 17.

Panhandle PBS will air an interview with Emeny this fall, and she has agreed to participate as a presenter in at least one Common Reader event at AC; the focus of the 2017-18 Common Reader will be on the Vietnam War.

For more information about the Emeny photo exhibit or the Southern Light Gallery, please contact René West, assistant professor of photography, at or 806-345-5654.