On the 12th of February 1942, RAF serviceman No. 406030 died in a plane crash at the airbase Secret Aerodrome No.2 in Palembang, Indonesia. This tragedy inspires Katy Mutton’s upcoming exhibition of heart-wrenching works at Canberra Contemporary Art Space Manuka. Triggered by detective Mutton’s discovery of a series of correspondences in the National Archives, these works take you on the journey of her great-grandfather’s unrelenting ten-year search for the body of his son killed in this crash. The great loss and longing of Mutton’s ancestors are embedded in these evocative works. She uses objects and documentation directly related to the search to recreate the family narrative in intricate marks and nostalgic imagery. The secrets of the past make for an intimate bunch of works, but Mutton also beckons us to think about universal questions of memory disruption and impairment.
Words by Isabelle Morgan