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The Center hosts an opening reception for HBO’s “The HeLa Project“. Guests will view and discuss this multi-media exhibition that tells the true story of Henrietta Lacks, an African American woman whose cells were used to create the first immortal human cell line that ultimately led to unprecedented medical breakthroughs. Her cells changed countless lives and the face of medicine forever.
About Henrietta Lacks and “The HeLa Project”
Henrietta Lacks was diagnosed with cervical cancer at the age of 31 and underwent treatment at Johns Hopkins Hospital. During her treatment, the hospital took tissue from her malignant tumor without her knowledge. Her cells became the first immortal human cell line as they continued to grow and multiply outside her body in laboratory conditions. The HeLa cells led to the birth of the biomedical industry that used her cells for countless research studies. “The HeLa Project” is designed to celebrate Henrietta Lacks and to give her a voice.
“The HeLa Project” will feature original art by Kadir Nelson, a touching poem by Saul Williams, and a special rendition of “Motherless Children” by recording artist Jazmine Sullivan. Additional art, curated by Lewis Long of Long Gallery Harlem, includes works by Derrick Adams and Doreen Garner.
This exhibition was inspired by the HBO film THE IMMORTAL LIFE OF HENRIETTA LACKS, starring Oprah Winfrey and Rose Byrne. The film was directed by the Center for Civil and Human Rights’s Chief Creative Officer and curator of The Center’s Rolls Down Like Water exhibit, George C. Wolfe. The film is based on Rebecca’s Skloot’s critically acclaimed New York Times bestseller of the same name.
This exhibition is on display from April 13 – 16.