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

Family of transplant donor gives gift of popcorn at Cowichan hospital

“a really powerful part of our healing process.”

Andrea Rondeau column: The opioid, homelessness crises are on our doorstep

They had used three naloxone kits in three weeks to treat random people they’d found overdosing

Bantam Bulldogs mauled by Bears in provincial final

Cowichan’s first loss comes in championship game

Sarah Simpson Column: There’s no wrong gift if it comes from the heart

Angel Tree program a way for the non-profit to collect new clothing and toys for children in need

Inspired 49ers get past Saanich

Cowichan masters rally after midfielder’s red card

VIDEO: ‘Holiday Magic’ when Celtic Rhythms and Summit Dance joined forces in Duncan

Fun and frolic combined with more serious selections to make a satisfying evening for everyone

B.C.-born hockey official talks to IIHF about switching European rule book to NHL rules

Rob Shick will represent NHL at 4th World Hockey Forum in Russia

Miller nets winner as Canucks edge Sabres 6-5 in OT

Roussel, Leivo tally two apiece for Vancouver

‘Norovirus-like’ outbreak interrupts Bantam hockey showcase in Greater Victoria

Several athletes were sent home, quarantined on the ferry

$578: that’s how much your first distracted driving ticket will cost with recent premium hikes

Over 50 per cent of Canadians admitted to using phone while driving last year, according to study

Kelowna man attempts to steal bait bike from RCMP parking lot

38-year-old Brian Richard Harbison is facing several charges

‘Things haven’t changed enough:’ Ecole Polytechnique anniversary prompts reflection

Fourteen women were fatally shot by a gunman at the Montreal school on Dec. 6, 1989

Bear raids freezer, gorges on Island family’s Christmas baking

Hungry bruin virtually ignored meat and fish, focused, instead, on the sweets

B.C. pharmaceutical company’s stocks double in value after successful lupus drug trial

More than 40 per cent of patients using voclosporin saw improvements in kidney function

Most Read