Welcome to Rocaterrania: Renaldo Kuhler

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Brett Ingram and Roger Manley

On the border between Canada and northern New York, just south of the St Lawrence River, lies a tiny nation of eastern European immigrants who share a rich culture and a tumultuous history. Fraught with political turmoil since its inception in the early 1930s, Rocaterrania has seen the rise and fall of empresses, czars, presidents, dictators and premieres, slowly developing from a monarchy into a democratic society. It's also a nation that is paradoxically fascist about individualism.

The oral and illustrated history of Rocaterrania is the satirically encoded life story of its creator, Renaldo Gillette Kuhler, a 77-year-old retired scientific illustrator in Raleigh, North Carolina.

In his 30-year career as a self-taught scientific illustrator, Kuhler made hundreds of precisely-rendered illustrations depicting the diverse flora and fauna of North Carolina for scientific journals and reference books. His meticulous style of drawing captured essential details of natural forms, ranging from the scales on reptile skin and the bone structures of vole skulls to the complex