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Photo via Unsplash

Database Provider


Li Hill


8th, 9th, 10th, 11th, 12th


Science, Visual and Performing Arts

Resource Type

  • Artwork

Regional Focus

North America, Polar Regions

"On the Brink"

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  • This mural by Li Hill showcases the interaction between polar bears and humans at a hot spot along the migration route of polar bears.
  • Hill's artist statement provides insight and opportunities for discussion regarding the current threats that exist for both wild animals and humans.
Teaching Tips


  • Students bring their own ideas and interpretations to the artwork that add to the artist's intention.
  • This mural focuses on the interaction of animals and people that are a result of the changes humans have made to the animal's habitat.

Additional Prerequisites

  • Exploring the map that is included on the webpage will deepen the understanding of the migratory pressures that push the bears into the path of people in Churchill, Canada.


  • The repetitive images of both the officer and the bear echo cave paintings; a lesson could be developed comparing images from 15,000 years ago to this mural.
  • A discussion between the instinctive behavior of the bear and the calculated altruistic behavior of the officer can be used to emphasize our responsibility to act with reason and compassion as caretakers of our environment.
  • The artist's choice of color and number of colors could be used in a lesson about how to emphasize an emotion with a limited color palette.
  • Other resources related to these topics include this mural about marine animals' anger towards human's impact on the environment and this lesson about polar climates.
Scientist Notes
The resource spotlights the need to protect overlooked and endangered species. This is valid and recommended for students to practice biodiversity conservation.
  • Arts
    • Visual Arts: Standard 8 - Interpret intent and meaning in artistic work.
      • VA.8.RE2.8 1. Interpret art by analyzing how the interaction of subject matter, formal art elements, composition, use of media, art-making approaches, and relevant contextual information contributes to understanding messages or ideas and mood conveyed.
      • VA.8.RE2.HS3 2. In written form, demonstrate critical analysis by examining different interpretations of an artwork or collection of works.
  • Related Resources


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