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Hallucinating Angels

Our name Hallucinating Angels was inspired by the story of Thamsanqa Jantjie, the sign language interpreter for Nelson Mandela’s memorial service. He famously improvised non-sign language signs for the entire event, influenced by a schizophrenic episode in which he described seeing angels entering the stadium. 

The story polarised opinion and some thought acted as a metaphor for the fakery of the whole event.  The crocodile tears of dignitaries were a self-congratulatory exercise translated into what they effectively were: nonsense.

Jantjie’s story is a fantastical combination of pain, beauty and even comedy and satisfies a hunger for raw truth and mad justice.


“Stories transcend theories which is why we need them. They nourish us and help us inhabit our skins. They remind us that no one owns us. We can only own ourselves.”


Hallucinating Angels is a company of artists who worked together on WE ARE FOR SALE and BAND OF GOLD. Both of these productions were part of an on-going residency at the De La Warr Pavilion in Bexhill, a contemporary art gallery with an international reputation. Our remit and team is changing and developing with each new project.  As we responded to the humanity behind celebrity masks in WE ARE FOR SALE and discovered an abundance of stories and appetite for art relating to ‘ordinary’ lives in BAND OF GOLD, our focus has become the life and stories of the community.  SHOES told personal stories of journeys from the domestic to the epic in film and live performance with a company also drawn from the community.

As we reveal a community to itself by exploring its stories and skills we are supporting that with modern technologies, using them in the service of authenticity and accessibility. 

Our work has been generously supported by Arts Council England, the De La Warr Pavilion and its team, especially curator David Rhodes.

De La Warr Pavilion photograph by Bridget Smith

De La Warr Pavilion by Bridget Smith