Nunavut’s card in Max Newhouse’s game is the king of the deck. (Grace Kennedy/The Observer)

VIDEO: B.C. artist celebrates Nunavut’s anniversary with a deck of cards

Max Newhouse is celebrating Nunavut’s coming of age with a card game that makes the territory king

In his home in Harrison Hot Springs, artist Max Newhouse is getting ready to honour the 20th anniversary of Nunavut joining Canada with a gift for every classroom in the territory: a deck of cards.

“I wanted to make sure each classroom in Nunavut, which isn’t hard, gets a deck of cards,” Newhouse said. “So they can learn about the country and how it grew.”

He has the deck spread out across a work bench in his studio, and it’s not what you’d expect. On one side, a provincial or territorial flag, along the region’s capital and the date it joined Canada. On the other, seasonal variants of the Canadian flag.

Those same images of Canada’s flag were hung around his studio: the traditional flag was summer, a falling maple leaf within two borders of red was for autumn, a blank white canvas within the red borders was for winter and a sprouting leaf was for spring.

He had been painting the Canadian flag in this form since 1974 — mostly in quadrants, but eight months ago he tried it as a set of four playing cards.

SEE ALSO: Chilliwack’s Imagination Library program gets financial boost

“I just thought, there’s something to it,” he said about the painting. “So I just kept thinking … is there any way I can develop a game that has only four numbers or four symbols?”

It took months, but he did.

The object of the game is simple — match the four flag seasons to get four of a kind of a full year — and in many ways is reminiscent of an ancient Chinese game “The Game of Leaves.”

“It makes me feel like I’m connected to ancient history,” he said.

But, as Newhouse is keen to point out, the game is surprisingly complex and varied when played.

“It’s a very complex, yet extremely simple,” he said. “It should have been around thousands of years ago.”

He’s tested the card game at Harrison Hot Springs Elementary, and the keen eyes of critical students have helped him perfect the game.

“It was the kids that figured out” what to do for the back of the cards, Newhouse said. “They said why don’t you do the provinces and territories.”

With that change, Nunavut became its heart.

“They’re actually the top card,” he said, gently looking at the cards on his bench. “They’re number 13, that makes them the king.

“They’re like a big crown on top of our country,” he added. “It’s a nice symbol.”

RELATED: Arctic cruise tourism comes of age

Originally, Newhouse had planned to send a deck of cards to each classroom in Nunavut for the April 1 anniversary of the territory’s entrance to Canada. But, with changes still needing to be made to the game, he wasn’t able to make the deadline.

“I going to miss that mark, but not entirely,” he said.

“Intellectually, the game being correct, I can’t rush it. But I’m going to absolutely get it there before the school year starts next year,” he added.

“It’s still in their anniversary. It just isn’t April 1.”



grace.kennedy@ahobserver.com

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter

 

Max Newhouse in his studio. Cards for his Canadian game are laid out in front of him, while images of the Canadian flag and the RCMP musical ride hang on the wall behind him. (Grace Kennedy/The Observer)

Just Posted

EDITORIAL: It’s a real crime

How much can one region take?

Cowboys, cowgirls earn precious points as BCRA season nears completion

The final opportunity to accumulate points will be this weekend, Aug. 23-24, in Smithers

Cow Moose Sign founder wants LEH for antlerless moose hunt in B.C. stopped

“Shooting a cow moose — it’s just not the right thing to do, especially in this region”

B.C. launches mandatory vaccine registry for schoolchildren

The Vaccination Status Reporting Regulation will go into effect ahead of upcoming school year

Three generations of Seiberts to race together Saturday at Thunder Mountain

Karl Seibert, his son, Trevor Seibert, and his grandson, Ryley Seibert, are all set to race

B.C. sockeye returns drop as official calls 2019 ‘extremely challenging’

Federal government says officials are seeing the same thing off Alaska and Washington state

Expanded support to help B.C. youth from care attend university still falling short

Inadequate support, limited awareness and eligibility restrictions some of the existing challenges

Ethnic media aim to help maintain boost in voting by new Canadians

Statistics Canada says new Canadians made up about one-fifth of the voting population in 2016

Cross-examination begins for B.C. dad accused of killing young daughters

Andrew Berry is charged in the deaths of six-year-old Chloe and four-year-old Aubrey in 2017

Dog attacked by river otters, Penticton owner says

Marie Fletcher says her dog was pulled underwater by four river otters in the Penticton Channel

BC SPCA overwhelmed with cats, kittens needing homes

Large number of cruelty investigations, plus normal ‘kitten season’ to blame

B.C. Hydro applies for rare cut in electricity rates next year

Province wrote off $1.1 billion debt to help reverse rate increase

Speculation tax forces sale of Greater Victoria’s iconic ‘Tulip House’

Bob and Jan Fleming selling their retirement home famous for its thousands of tulips

Most Read