ATLANTA, April 12, 2017 /PRNewswire/ -- "The HeLa Project," is a culturally-grounded, multi-media exhibition inspired by the highly anticipated HBO film, THE IMMORTAL LIFE OF HENRIETTA LACKS, starring Oprah Winfrey and Rose Byrne. Directed by George C. Wolfe, the film is based on Rebecca Skloot's critically acclaimed New York Times bestseller of the same name. The multi-market exhibition will run April 13th – April 16th at the Center for Civil and Human Rights (100 Ivan Allen Jr Blvd NW, Atlanta, GA 30313), Thu – Sat, 10am – 5pm, Sun 12pm – 5pm).
The film 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, changing countless lives and the face of medicine forever.
"The HeLa Project" is designed to celebrate Henrietta Lacks, the woman – to give her a voice and to humanize and recognize this wonderful being. The exhibition features an original portrait by two-time Caldecott Honor Award winning artist Kadir Nelson; a touching, original poem by Saul Williams; and a moving rendition of "Motherless Children Have a Hard Time" by recording artist Jazmine Sullivan. Additional art, curated by Lewis Long of Long Gallery Harlem, includes works by Derrick Adams and Doreen Garner. The product of these elements, plus an educational, sculptural installation about the HeLa cells, all converge in this engaging experience.
About Henrietta Lacks
Henrietta Lacks (1920-1951), an African-American woman and married mother of five, living in Baltimore, MD, was diagnosed with cervical cancer at age 31. Tissue from her malignant tumor was removed without her knowledge or that of her family, a standard practice of the day. Her cells, inexplicably, continued to grow and multiply outside her body in laboratory conditions, which became the first immortal human cell line. The HeLa cells, as they became known, led to the birth of the biomedical industry which saw those cells used in tens of thousands of research studies over the years.
Henrietta's cells were essential in the creation of the polio vaccine; as well as groundbreaking research on measles, mumps, HIV, Ebola, HPV and countless other diseases; and advancements in cloning, gene mapping, in vitro fertilization, and more. Additionally, her cells were used to safely test cosmetics (replacing lab animals), to research the effect of deep sea pressure, even to study what causes aging. Amazingly, HeLa cells are utilized to this day!
About the Film, The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks
HBO Films' THE IMMORTAL LIFE OF HENRIETTA LACKS, directed by George C. Wolfe from a screenplay by Peter Landesman and Alexander Woo and Wolfe, debuts on HBO on Saturday, April 22nd. Told through the eyes of her daughter, Deborah Lacks (Winfrey), the film chronicles her search to learn about the mother she never knew and to understand how the unauthorized harvesting of Lacks' cancerous cells in 1951 led to unprecedented medical breakthroughs. It's a story of medical arrogance and triumph, race, poverty and deep friendship between the unlikeliest of people. Rebecca Skloot's "The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks," which took more than a decade to research and write, instantly hit the New York Times bestseller list upon publication, and remained there for more than four years. Several members of the Lacks family served as consultants on the film, including Henrietta's children, David Lacks, Jr. and Zakariyya Bari Abdul Rahman, and Henrietta's grandchildren, Jeri Lacks Whye, Alfred Carter, Jr. and LaTonya Carter.
About the Center for Civil and Human Rights
The Center for Civil and Human Rights in Downtown Atlanta is an engaging cultural attraction that connects The American Civil Rights Movement to today's Global Human Rights Movements. The Center features a continuously rotating exhibit from The Morehouse College Martin Luther King, Jr. Collection, which includes many of Dr. King's documents and personal items. Visitors will be immersed in experiential exhibits through powerful and authentic stories, historic documents, compelling artifacts, and interactive activities. The Center is a source for ongoing dialogue — hosting educational forums and attracting world-renowned speakers and artists who work on a variety of human rights topics. For more information, visit www.civilandhumanrights.org/espn. Join the conversation on civil and human rights on Twitter @Ctr4CHR and Facebook.
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