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Photo via Unsplash

Database Provider


Li Hill


3rd, 4th, 5th, 6th, 7th, 8th, 9th, 10th, 11th, 12th


Science, Art

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.
  • National Core Arts Standards
    • Visual Arts: Standard 7 - Perceive and analyze artistic work.
      • VA:Re7.2.IIa Evaluate the effectiveness of an image or images to influence ideas, feelings, and behaviors of specific audiences.
    • Visual Arts: Standard 8 - Interpret intent and meaning in artistic work.
      • VA:Re8.1.4a Interpret art by referring to contextual information and analyzing relevant subject matter, characteristics of form, and use of media.
      • VA:Re8.1.5a Interpret art by analyzing characteristics of form and structure, contextual information, subject matter, visual elements, and use of media to identify ideas and mood conveyed.
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