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Having practised as a lawyer, he performed, in earlier years, as a deputy to the Chairmanship of the Council of Ministers during the VII Constitutional Government, as Chairman of the European cooperation NGO Latin American Studies Institute, and as Chairman of the Board in various multinational companies. In the early 1980s, he studied painting at Ar.Co, Lisbon and since then devoted himself exclusively to painting, sculpture and writing. His first exhibition dates from 1985 and he has since been present in many exhibitions and conferences in Portugal and abroad. In 2000 he was awarded the Mention of Honour by the I Painting Biannual Domingos Sequeira and, in 2007, the First Prize of the Portuguese Association for Institutional Communication.
Manuel Carmo is, at present, consultant of the European Museum Forum (Portugal) and also consultant for Aporem (an association integrating 17 museums) international projects.
His life and work were the subject for a 30 min documentary, in 2005, produced by the Portuguese Public Television Channel RTP1 in collaboration with Universidade Aberta, and broadcast through RTP International channel.
Carmo was the single Portuguese painter invited to submit a project - Let’s Art! - to the UNESCO World Conferente on Education through the Arts, in 2006. Sanchez Bravo, the Chairman of the UNESCO Spanish Committee considers his painting as "a new nude and harmonious-musical path to transcend truth".
His most recent exhibition/performance in Portugal, in 2005, entitled "1755 – the Cemetery of Hope or the 7 Virtues for Rebirth", evoking the 250th anniversary of the Lisbon 1755 earthquake, was honoured by the high patronage of H.E. the President of the Republic, Mr. Jorge Sampaio.
In 2006, at the "Angel Orensanz Foundation Center for the Arts", in New York City, he exhibited a set of works on the creative act in Art, named "Manifesto 24", which included painting, sculpture and video. On this exhibition, the New-Yorker art reviewer Nancy di Benedetto said, “the best homage one may pay to Manuel Carmo is the acknowledgement that his works do not belong to any predetermined schools nor movements as they challenge categorization and opens the path for new territories for the Arts in the twenty first century”.
Quoted in the New York City Arts Annual Catalogue 2007, he is represented in various foundations and museums. Amongst these:
- Antonio Prates Foundation
- Michettti Foundation
- European Museum Forum
- International Museum of Graphic Art
- Mumi Museum
- Madeira Museum of Contemporary Arts
- EPAL Museum of Water
- Chaves City Hall
- Bragança City Hall
- Lisbon City Hall
- Mundial Confiança
- Universitária Editora
- Bairro Alto Art Ateliers
- Portuguese Serigraphy Centre
- Mission Structure Against Home Abuse
- Angel Orensanz Center
- Mário Soares Foundation
- Beni Culturali Emília Romagna Institute, Italy
- Portuguese Communications Foundation
- Museum of Communications
- Avilez Cultural Centre
- Museum of Water of Coimbra
- Queen Fabiola of Belgium’s Collection
- Chico Buarque de Holanda’s Collection
- Fausto Bertinotti’s Collection
- International Medical Assistance's Collection
Published works on art
- "Aquae Liberae Triumphalis Ingressus", Editorial Hugin, 2004.
- "Um Café pelo Aqueduto", Editorial ACD, 2005.
- "A Diferença para +", Ateliers de Arte do Bairro Alto, 2005.
- "1755 – Cemitério de Esperança", Editorial ACD, 2005.
- "Manifesto 24", Angel Orensanz Foundation (New York), 2005.
- "Liberdade Número 800240574", Fundação Mário Soares, 2006.
- "Acquit há Gato!", Museu das Comunicações, 2006.
- "Os 7 Estados da Água", Edições AABA 2007