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

GREEN BEAT: Langley prof witnesses a desperately dry country

The current drought in New South Wales is being called one of the worst ever, B.C. is so fortunate

Still anyone’s game in lacrosse championships unfolding in Langley

Orangeville, Okotoks victorious on Day 2 of Minto Cup nationals at the Langley Events Centre

VIDEO: A few small changes help drive attendance at Saturday’s Arts Alive

Langley art festival brings close to 200 various artists and thousands of spectators to Langley City

Abandoned house blaze worries Langley neighbours

Redevelopment area of Willowby attracts squatters and partiers, and fires fear area residents

Day 1 underway at 2019 Minto Cup in Langley

Coquitlam and Orangeville out ahead after the first day of action at Langley Events Centre

VIDEO: Bubblemania in the burbs

Doggies frolic about when a bubblemaking machine is set to create fun in their Langley City yard

U16 B.C. fastpitch team named national champs

Girls went undefeated at national tournament in Calgary

Advocates ‘internationalize’ the fight to free Raif Badawi from Saudi prison

Raif Badawi was arrested on June 17, 2012, and was later sentenced to 1,000 lashes and 10 years in jail for his online criticism of Saudi clerics

Canadian entrepreneurs turning beer byproduct into bread, cookies and profits

Some breweries turn to entrepreneurs looking to turn spent grain into treats for people and their pets

Canada ‘disappointed’ terror suspect’s British citizenship revoked

Jack Letts, who was dubbed “Jihadi Jack” by the U.K. media, has been detained in a Kurdish prison for about two years

Chrystia Freeland condemns violence in Hong Kong, backs right to peaceful assembly

There have been months of protests in the semi-autonomous region

Most Read