Momento Mori

Momento Mori | SD Holman
Curated by Lalia Fraser/Paul Wong
April 2-30, 2021, Tues-Sat 12:00-5:00pm

Opening Reception: Friday April 2, 2021, 5:00-8:00pm
*Covid-19 precautions limit 4 guests in gallery at a time. Please book 15min time slots, email 

On Main Gallery is pleased to present the work of SD Holman as our contribution to the 2021 Capture Photography Festival. Momento Mori shows new works created in the second year of this pandemic responding to locked-down lives, and speaking to grief, fear, loss of freedom, life and the abandoned detritus of the dead.

Since 2009, SD Holman has been turning their lens to creating portraits of absence. On Main featured Holman in Thru The Trapdoor the legendary 2014 exhibition in storage lockers curated by Paul Wong. Still Life (Nature Morte) was a series of small intimate lightboxes of everyday objects that once belonged to Holman’s beloved wife who drowned in a plane crash.

This exhibition of four backlit photographs with text is from a larger series documenting the home of artist Geoff McMurchy. After his untimely death in 2015, Holman spent four days sleeping in his bed and photographing his assemblages of everyday objects. Portraits of what is left after life, at once present and absent, lonely and glorifying, empty and full.

The work in this series takes on new meaning when viewed through the lens of now. As our mobility is curtailed to contain contagion, many of us are spending more time inside our homes. These portraits invite us to contemplate a constructed interior world. Holman has selected four images of windows and doorways that provide both sources of light and portals to the outside and beyond. Holman has foregrounded the images by inserting poetic text from sourced authors. 

Momento Mori is a reminder of our mortality just as every photograph is a tragedy, in that the instant the shutter snaps, the moment ceases to exist. Momento Mori carries a double entendre from the Spanish momento: the moment of death, that is, the moment a photograph is taken.

Momento Mori is one of five Capture Photography Festival exhibitions taking place here at BC Artscape/Sun Wah Centre. Other exhibitions include Trauma Clown at SUM Gallery, Chiasmus at the Ground Floor Art Centre, Exclusion Acts at Centre A, and Fotofest at Canton-sardine. The catalogue for the 2021 Capture Photography Festival is available online. Printed catalogues are available at the gallery.


SDHolman_ AsYouWere_2021


SD Holman born in Hollywood, California and graduated ECUAD in 1990. They are an award winning artist and curator whose work has toured internationally. A laureate of the prestigious  YWCA Women of Distinction Award 2014, Holman is known for engagement with themes of sex, death and identity. Holman’s work has exhibited at Wellesley College, the Advocate Gallery (Los Angeles), the Soady-Campbell Gallery (New York), the San Francisco Public Library, On Main Gallery, The Helen Pitt International Gallery, Charles H. Scott, Exposure, Gallery Gachet, the Roundhouse, Vancouver East Cultural Centre, Artropolis, and Fotobase Galleries (Vancouver). Holman’s portrait project BUTCH: Not like the other girls toured North America and is now in its second edition, published by Caitlin Press, Dagger Editions.

SD Holman is the Artistic Director of The Queer Arts Festival and SUM Gallery, Canada’s only queer-mandated transdisciplinary festival and gallery and has programmed notable artists such as Kent Monkman, Cris Derksen, Jeremy Dutcher, Angela Grossmann and Dana Claxton. Curatorial highlights include TRIGGER, the 25th-anniversary exhibition for Kiss & Tell’s notorious Drawing the Line project and Adrian Stimson’s Naked Napi.