Interdisciplinary artist Derek Fordjour made a stirring foray into film in 2020 with 'Fly away'. Documenting a puppet performance co-created with puppeteer and theatre artist Nick Lehane and originally presented at Petzel Gallery, New York, 'Fly away' weaves through the heaviest of themes with the lightest touch, creating a mounting sense of wonderment and historical resonance along the way. The star of the show is a humble wooden puppet, a Black ‘everyman’ sculpted by Robert Maldonado, which is led by a troupe of extraordinary puppeteers through episodes of loss, transcendence, labour, play, competition, intimacy and jubilation. Beginning with his emergence from a coffin that also recalls the hold of a slave ship, and then proceeding through his endeavours as a football player, jockey and musician, the puppet figure is controlled, in a careful casting decision, by white puppeteers, suggesting that, even when their guidance is kind, true freedom for this figure is hard, if not impossible, to attain. The result is a fable-like performance which, by evoking moments of crisis and celebration in one man’s history, connects powerfully with present-day losses and struggles.