Art exhibit honours legacy of writer Richard Vaughan

·2 min read
Art exhibit honours legacy of writer Richard Vaughan

New Brunswick writer Richard Vaughan's life and legacy is now being celebrated through a virtual art exhibition.

The acclaimed author, poet and playwright died in Fredericton in October. He was 55.

Known as Cut. Paste. Resist. Redux, the multimedia exhibition consists of film strips created from collages. Those images are paired with voiceovers of friends and colleagues reading various excerpts from his poetry, chat books and novels.

Marie Maltais, director of the UNB Arts Centre, helped organize the project and described Vaughan as "a shining star of New Brunswick's cultural scene." She said the exhibit is a way to "bring back the genius" of the writer.

"He was an advocate, he was someone who was very down to earth, you could approach him," Maltais said.

Vaughan was born in Saint John, but lived and worked in Montreal, Toronto and Berlin before returning to his home province last year to work as writer-in-residence at the University of New Brunswick. He wrote under the name R.M. Vaughan.

He is remembered as a pioneer for LGBTQ artists and a talented writer who could address many subjects.

The new exhibit was inspired by a collage project Vaughan organized with Ken Moffatt, the Jack Layton chair at Ryerson University, early last year. They put out a call for submissions from community members focused on the theme of resistance.

More than 200 collages came in from around the world, and were displayed as part of the Cut, Paste, Resist art show at UNB.

That initial show has evolved into the project presented online this month in Vaughan's memory.

Maltais reached out to Moffatt shortly after Vaughan's death to collaborate on the project.

Maria Jose Burgos/CBC
Maria Jose Burgos/CBC

It is being held virtually on the centre's website because of the COVID-19 pandemic. Recorded readings from 17 different people will be released throughout the month.

The response to the show has been positive, with people sharing fond memories.

Maltais said she remembers Vaughan as someone who really cared about his students and the cultural community.

"I have spoken to a few people that were mentored by him, and it is really a terrible loss," she said.