CHEK Upside: 90-year-old long-term care home resident aims to help children in need through artwork

CHEK Upside: 90-year-old long-term care home resident aims to help children in need through artwork
WatchHugh Hamilton, or "HUMAC," has turned to painting during the pandemic as a way to help cope with isolation. The retired forestry worker has produced hundreds of pieces of art.

At her Langford home, Sheryl Van Buskirk shows off her eclectic art collection.

“They’re just all so different,” said Van Buskirk, who possesses hundreds of original canvas paintings.

The creative mind behind the colorful, creative works of art belongs to an artist that signs all of his pieces with the alias ‘HUMAC 1930’. Most of the work was produced at the artist’s current residence, The Priory long-term care home in Langford.

CHEK News uncovered that HUMAC is a 90-year-old man who lives with a variety of health issues and happens to be Sheryl’s father, Hugh Hamilton.

“I think my stuff’s a little bit different than anyone else’s,” said Hamilton via speakerphone, separated by a glass barrier for the interview.

Hamilton is a retired forestry worker who only started painting a few years ago as a way to help pass the time.

“If I wasn’t doing this what would I be doing? I’d be counting the leaves on the trees out the window or something,” said Hamilton.

“Just all of a sudden he just decided he’s going be a painter and started painting and coming up with all these creations,” said Van Buskirk. “It just comes from his mind.”

It has become his favourite hobby and a way to cope with his feeling of isolation during the pandemic.

“Oh it just keeps him going. If he couldn’t paint, he would go buggy,” said Van Buskirk, who visits Hamilton once a week in the home.

And after creating enough work to fill a large gallery, Hamilton had an idea.

“Well I was thinking we could hold an auction,” said Hamilton, who wants to raise funds for local children in need. “More in particular, the Aboriginal children’s fund because way back in my family’s history. We were Cree.”

The deep meaning behind his work may be up for debate, but “HUMAC” does indeed paint with a purpose, and wants nothing more than to share his art with the world.

Hamilton and his family are seeking help from volunteers who could assist in organizing the sale or auction of his paintings. For more information, email Sheryl Van Buskirk at jay.sheryl [at]


Kevin CharachKevin Charach

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