The 100 Years Show, released in the year of her 100th birthday in 2015 shows the still vibrant and productive artist - with a zest for life and no intention of stopping. In 2020, she celebrated her 105th birthday - her remarkable and remarkably long life continues.
The documentary shows her at work, going through her process of idea to sketch to proof of concept to full blown artwork. While still hands on, her assistant is there to help her complete her works, many of which are large scale.
Her abstract minimalist paintings have the power to make the viewer stop to contemplate their elegant simplicity. Her early works already demonstrate her talent. The further decades of work have strengthened her skills as she continues her daily search to create powerful art.
Her positive attitude to art and life are remarkable given the almost complete absence of opportunities and recognition for so many decades. She kept going. As she says, when you wait for the bus, the bus will eventually come. Certainly, there has been a lot pain in her waiting, including being told by a woman gallery owner in the 1950s that she would not show her work because Carmen was a woman. She has not forgotten, but she persisted.
This half hour documentary effectively shows Carmen Herrera at work in her home studio, her process and explanations of her life and art. Unfortunately, because of its shortness, it does not delve into the source of her inspiration and how she came to focus on line and colour. It may be a factor of her not being able to explain it well, rather hard to imagine given her ease explaining so much of her life to the camera. Certainly, enough is known of her early life and initial architectural studies to be able to map out where her artistic interests began and how they evolved.
There are few unequivocal feel good stories in life. This is definitely one. The doggedness of an artist continuing to produce while being ignored, and then attaining recognition in her ninth decade of life is a story hard to even imagine as being within the realm of realistic possibility.
As a final exclamation point, she has gone through life with a smile and without bitterness. She deserves all the belated fame she has received.