FAQ: Who is Hettie Entwistle?
Callum discovered a photograph of his late father pictured with an unknown woman and the name “Hettie Entwistle” was written on the back of the photo. Callum’s friends and family did not recognise the woman or the name, so he grew curious and searched online. Callum discovered information about Entwistle that was posted by contemporary artist, Kitty von Abrams so he reached out to her. They met, and Callum discovered much more than he expected.
Cultural Historian, Nicholas Christopher, declares that Entwistle has “been completely overlooked by history, (and that) she should really be a household name”. Entwistle’s obscurity is justified by von Abrams due to her being “a recluse (and), she shunned the limelight” thus resulting in Entwistle becoming “another strong powerful woman completely written out of history”.
First-and-foremost, Entwistle was a prolific artist, yet Art Historian, Ian Tucknott, explains that “Entwistle was not only an artist, but ... an ethnographer” and von Abrams elaborates that “Entwistle was nomadic, she travelled all around the world”. The relationship between Entwistle’s artwork and ethnography is complex and von Abrams argues that “Entwistle’s extensive ethnography and exploration gave her a profound sense of spirituality and humanity. She was uniquely placed to understand the world, the individual, the soul, in a way that other Great Masters simply could not”.
FAQ: What happened to Hettie Entwistle?
Entwistle being an artist and an ethnographer were not her only achievements, as Anthropologist, Graham Marks, asserts that “Hettie’s contribution to arts and culture are so wide ranging”. Other elements of Entwistle’s legacy include her being present in the Falklands conflict and at the fall of the Berlin Wall, playing a key role in the creation of MTV and synthpop, being a pioneering environmental activist, and raising significant money for charities. Christopher goes as far as to argue that "Entwistle had a huge significance culturally, and she really left her mark”.
Marks states that “during the 1980s, Hettie turned out an enormous body of work and her achievements were fantastic”. Entwistle was only active during the 1980s and no confirmed records of Entwistle exist either side of the decade. Tucknott believes that Entwistle’s “journey as an artist led her to explore the world, to visit lesser-known places and people, and it’s almost as if she disappeared into that world, or into some other place”.
Marks states that “the bizarre thing is that she just disappeared off the scene without a trace” and Entwistle’s unexplained disappearance only reinforces her near-mythological status. The enigma of Entwistle and her work certainly captured Callum’s curiosity, and von Abrams believes that “Hettie Entwistle is one of the great unsolved mysteries of the modern age”.
FAQ: What are The Freedoms?
Entwistle’s various artworks were produced in a wide range of mediums and formats with her ethnography and activism being considered by some as being performance art or land art of sorts. It is clear that Entwistle’s extensive study of many practices and customs of different cultures obviously informs both the subjects and methodologies of her artwork. Callum states that Entwistle’s “masterpiece, the project she was working on when she disappeared was The Freedoms”. This “masterpiece” remained incomplete, and von Abrams says that “a big part of my work has been piecing together Entwistle’s unfinished work The Freedoms”, which is “a series of site-specific tasks and trials based on different rituals and ceremonies from cultures from all over the globe”.
The Freedoms is the culmination of Entwistle’s life and work. It is an epic journey stopping at various sites along a ley line and interpreting prompts to then perform appropriate actions. It is a complex combination of astrology, geography, history, and spirituality, that is ultimately designed to change your life. The process has strict procedures that must be followed, and it continues to be shrouded in mystery, but according to von Abrams, “if you complete The Freedoms, you achieve enlightenment”.