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

City shifts proposed transit station to King George after cancellation of LRT

Council to consider Newton Town Centre plan in fall

VIDEO: Plane makes forced landing on Highway 17 in Surrey

Police say no one was injured and no damage to aircraft or vehicles

The struggle for space inside Surrey’s elementary schools

SECOND IN A SERIES: A look at how overcrowding impacts student life

Nearly 200 motorcycles take off from Cloverdale for Brenden’s Ride

Annual fundraiser supports programs that empower people with disabilities

Surrey Schools estimates $350K for tampon, pad dispenser installation

District aims to have equipment set up by October or November

VIDEO: First Nations, developer call for return and protection of sacred B.C. burial site

Dozens of First Nations leaders gather on grassy plateau to call on action by provincial government

Cyclists competing in one of the toughest bike races on the planet pass through Fernie

Divide riders looking strong as they finish first leg of 4160 km race

You might not know these B.C. records are public

Hired a lawyer to file a civil claim? Those are published online

Teen stabbed after end-of-night limo dispute in downtown Vancouver

A young man, 19, is in serious condition following a dispute between two groups

B.C. bus driver loses case to get job back after texting while driving full bus

An arbitator ruled that Tim Wesman’s phone usage was a “a reckless disregard for public safety”

Revamped B.C. Lions set to battle veteran Winnipeg Blue Bombers

The Lions’ first test of the season will be a big one

No business case for Trans Mountain expansion, says former environment minister

Cabinet is expected to announce its decision on the expansion of the Alberta-to-B.C. pipeline by Tuesday

LETTER: British Columbia’s forest industry crisis being made worse

Andrew Wilkinson warns of regulatory overload by John Horgan’s NDP

Convicted B.C. child abductor Randall Hopley back in custody 6 months after release

Correctional Services Canada could not provide further details due to privacy concerns

Most Read