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Artist Spotlight

Margaret Dragu

Richmond’s Margaret Dragu of has been named as one of the eight winners of the 2012 Governor General’s Awards in Visual and Media Arts. The $25,000 awards recognize career achievement in the visual and media arts by Canadian artists.

Dragu’s work spans over 40 years. She has presented work in galleries, museums, theatres, nightclubs, libraries, universities, parks and parade routes throughout Canada, the USA and Western Europe. She is also a film and video artist, writer, blogger, choreographer, actor, radio broadcaster, fitness instructor and extremely famous cleaning lady, having led a unique labour protest at the Ontario Legislature where participants scrubbed, swept and dusted the entrance.

Her latest work includes performances and writings as the characters Lady Justice and Verb Woman. Lady Justice is a politically engaged rapper who often performs with Vancouver band Payday Millionaire and is found lurking around the internet, blogging or making appearances in graphic novels and videos. Verb Woman is a creator and harvester of new verbs, who sets up a station in locations like Vancouver’s Downtown Eastside to sew on buttons and repair the garments of strangers. This simple reparative act is both intimate and healing, and often occasions the sharing of stories.

Dragu also maintains an art-life practice as a trainer with clients living with arthritis, osteoporosis, heart disease/stroke, multiple sclerosis, cerebral palsy and visual impairment—work that has culminated in a series entitled Conscious Corpus, an interdisciplinary investigation of the body and its frailty/resilience. She is an instructor at Emily Carr University of Art and Design and also works at Richmond’s South Arm Community Centre.

A resident of Richmond’s Finn Slough, Dragu was one of the inaugural winners of the annual Richmond Arts Awards in 2009 for Artistic Innovation. In 2008, the Richmond Art Gallery hosted her exhibition, “Marginalia: Getting Out of the House” with artist Pam Hall, a Canadian coast-to-coast collaboration that explored connection, community, feminism and domesticity.

The Governor General’s Awards in Visual and Media Arts are Canada’s foremost awards for excellence in these artistic disciplines. The prizes are awarded annually to visual and media artists for distinguished career achievement in visual arts, architecture, independent film and video, or audio and new media.