Spotlight on Henrietta Lacks


4:00 - 5:00 pm


admission free

Our current exhibition of Larry Achiapong & David Blandy’s film ‘A Lament for Power’ has at its nucleus Henrietta Lacks (1920-1951), a black American known to scientists as ‘HeLa’ – the name given to the cells that were taken from her body without her consent – and because of their ability to endlessly replicate and become ‘immortal cells’, have been used in numerous discoveries including mapping the human genome, cures for cancer and the development of Polio and HIV vaccines. There are few people alive in the world today who haven’t benefited from Henrietta Lacks.

Yet, her contribution remained unknown for decades, reminding us of whose voices are erased from society’s narratives and in doing so, whose interests are served? As the film ‘A Lament for Power’ speculates, “why would you want to give up a chair built of our bones that have cradled your existence?”

Join us as we focus on Henrietta Lacks and her contribution to the world around us and how we live today. Using the BBC’s 7 minute film on Henrietta Lacks as our starting point, we will expand on wider issues taken up in Larry Achiampong and David Blandy’s ‘A Lament for Power’.

Zoom booking here.