Margaret Dragu

Regina , SK
Saskatchewan CA
Lives in
Vancouver , BC
British Columbia CA

Video maker, performance artist. The queer-friendly Regina-born Margaret Dragu has been making and been appearing in video art since the late 1970s. A defender of strippers’ rights and a dancer herself, Dragu made her mark exploring the limits of female sexuality and, mostly, the undoing of these limits. Her 1985 video Breath experiments with the abstract and painterly qualities of video and pursues its erotic quality by juxtaposing two androgynous naked bodies who are slowly breathing in and out, creating a beautiful and sensual whole. While her performances as a dancer center mostly on eroticism, Dragu is also interested in how we police and survey one another in public and private space. In Lady of Shallot - A Surveillance Player (2002, 4), Dragu plays the role of a woman who uses a mirror to catch the reflection of her surrounding, which includes a man watching her. Her persona and thematic concerns have influenced a lot of younger queer artists and in 2014 a Toronto-based artist, Francisco-Fernando Granados, paid a tribute to her in a work inspired by one of her performances for the Queering the Prairies: Queer Performance Festival. Dragu has been living in a small fishing village just East of Vancouver since the mid-nineties and she is still an active artistic and political figure all over Canada. She is the laureate of the Governor-General’s Award for Visual Art and Media 2012.