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

Shawn Campbell scores 4 as Leafs beat Rebels 5-3

Campbell now has seven goals in just four games this season

Construction begins on seniors affordable housing building

Lakeside Place is projected to be finished by fall 2020

LETTER: Five reasons to vote Green

From reader Christopher Klassen

L.V. Rogers qualifies for boys soccer provincials

LVR booked its ticket with a pair of wins

How local candidates are using Facebook to advertise directly to you

Liberal campaign is the biggest spender on Facebook ads in South Okanangan–West Kootenay

VIDEO: First all-female spacewalk team makes history

NASA astronauts Christina Koch and Jessica Meir did work on International Space Station’s power grid

Zantac, the over-the-counter heartburn drug, pulled in Canada, U.S.

Health Canada also investigates possible carcinogen in some ranitidine drugs

B.C. public safety minister says cannabis edibles not in stores til January

Mike Farnworth says he wants regional issues considered when it comes to licensing

Greta Thunberg calls for climate action in Alberta, but doesn’t talk oilsands

Swedish teen was met with some oil and gas industry supporters who came in a truck convoy

Scheer denies spreading ‘misinformation’ in predicting unannounced Liberal taxes

Conservative leader had claimed that a potential NDP-Liberal coalition could lead to a hike in GST

Council asks to limit cruise ship visits to Victoria harbour

Mayor says motion is not meant to curtail current visits or limit local cruise industry expansion

Chilliwack man pleads guilty in crash that killed pregnant woman

Frank Tessman charged under Motor Vehicle Act for accident that killed Kelowna school teacher

Delays at railroad crossing in Kootenay town cause for concern

About 1870 Fernie residents are temporarily isolated when the train passes through town

Kawhi Leonard, former Toronto Raptor, welcomed back to Vancouver at pre-season game

Fans go wild at pre-season game between L.A. Clippers and Dallas Mavericks at Rogers Arena

Most Read