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


Visual and Performing Arts

Resource Type

  • Artwork

Regional Focus

North America, Polar Regions

"The Last Winter"

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  • This mural by Dulk in Churchill, Canada depicts desperate and damaged polar bears and whales carrying pieces of their environment essential to their survival over a landscape punctuated by cars.
  • The use of metaphors is abundant in this mural including relating polar bears and whales to unicorns, showing the damage to the species as damage to individuals, cars as a destructive and polluting force, fires on the animals for a warming climate, and targets on the animals to show they're under attack.
Teaching Tips


  • Students bring their own ideas and interpretations to the artwork that develop critical thinking.
  • There is an opportunity to discuss the difference between the whimsical style of the mural and the dire subject matter.

Additional Prerequisites

  • Exploring the map that is included on the webpage will prompt students to connect the visual metaphors the artist uses with the fauna of Churchill, Canada.


  • An entire lesson could revolve around finding as many visual metaphors as possible and discussing their meanings.
  • The types of human impact depicted are limited to the car and its pollution, but the results of how climate changes are happening are the bulk of the subject matter.
  • 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
This artwork describes the impact of glaciation on polar bear survival, deepening their vulnerability and forcing them to migrate. This could get worse if we do not take urgent climate action. The resource is recommended for teaching.
  • Arts
    • Visual Arts: Standard 7 - Perceive and analyze artistic work.
      • VA.7.RE1.7 3. Analyze ways that visual components and cultural associations suggested by visual imagery are used to influence ideas, emotions, and actions.
      • VA.7.RE1.HS2 1. Analyze, summarize, and explain how works of art or design can reveal cultural values, global contexts, and human experiences.
    • 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.HS2 2. Orally or in writing identify types of contextual information that justify various interpretations of an artwork or collection of works.
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