Monday, June 04, 2018

Henrietta Lacks Immortalized in a Portrait

When Henrietta Lacks died in 1951she left behind an important biological legacy. Harvested without her consent, Henrietta’s cervical cancer cells continued to grow and multiply after her death and may do so forever. Named after her, the HeLa cell line was instrumental in the development of the polio vaccine and research in cloning, gene mapping, and in vitro fertilization. Lacks has also become a powerful symbol for informed consent.

Now she has been immortalized in a portrait by African-American artist Kadir Nelson that will hang in the National Portrait Gallery until November 4th, after which it will return to the NMAAHC.



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