This artwork was created in order to pay homage to the legacy of Henrietta Lacks (born Loretta Pleasant; August 1, 1920 – October 4, 1951). Henrietta Lacks’ name was white-washed from medical history when Dr. George Gey of Johns Hopkins Hospital harvested her immortal cells without her consent, and relabeled his patient’s name “Helen Lane.” 50 tons of Henrietta’s cells have been used in the development of the Polio vaccine, research into Cancer, AIDS, and HPV, and 11,000 patents. Henrietta was buried in an unmarked grave in the family cemetery located on the plantation of her white slave-owning great-grandfather and great-uncle.
Animation & Music by Peter Smith
Artwork & Written by Jeffrey Kent
Baltimore-based artist Jeffrey Kent combines dramatic gestures, vivid colors, multiple layers, impasto, and reverse text in his paintings. His struggle with dyslexia (without access to diagnosis and care) is a recurring theme expressed in reverse text. His bricolage artworks consider the history of inequity by manipulating objects of daily life. In his critique of the accessibility of the Art World, Kent’s street performances, community investment projects, and multimedia public presentations bring fine art to people who wouldn’t otherwise have opportunities to experience it. In addition to his art practices, Kent founded the folded alternative art space in Baltimore, Subbasement Artist Studios (2004-2014); Co-Owner of Unexpected Art Space (2013-2016); Co-Founder of Connect+Collect and Director of Promotion and Outreach, BmoreArt (2018-) designed to create awareness and momentum among art collectors, and to promote a culture of collecting in Baltimore. His artworks are in the collections of Robert W Deutsch Foundation, Hilton Hotels, and FTI Consulting Inc., among others.