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Kadir Nelson's portrait of Henrietta Lacks will be on display on the National Portrait Gallery's presentation wall until November 4, 2018. The portrait is a co-acquisition by the Portrait Gallery and the Smithsonian’s National Museum of African American History and Culture. "Lacks (1920 – 1951), whose great-great-grandmother was an enslaved person, lost her life to cervical cancer at age 31. During her treatment, doctors took cells from her body and discovered they lived long lives and reproduced indefinitely in test tubes. These “immortal” HeLa cells have since contributed to over 10,000 medical patents, aiding research and benefiting patients with polio, AIDS, Parkinson’s disease and other conditions. Considering the history of medical testing on African Americans without their permission, the fate of Lacks raises questions about ethics, privacy and race. Addressing those issues forthrightly, Rebecca Skloot’s 2010 book, The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks, prompted Oprah Winfrey and HBO to explore her story on film. Commissioned by HBO, Nelson used visual elements to convey Lacks’ legacy. The wallpaper features the “Flower of Life,” a symbol of immortality; the flowers on her dress recall images of cell structures; and two missing buttons allude to the cells taken from her body without permission."