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.
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.
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 thismural about marine animals' anger towards human's impact on the environment and thislessonabout polar climates.
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.
National Core Arts Standards
Visual Arts: Standard 7 - Perceive and analyze artistic work.
VA:Re7.1.IIa Recognize and describe personal aesthetic and empathetic responses to the natural world and constructed environments.
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.
VA:Re8.1.IIa Identify types of contextual information useful in the process of constructing interpretations of an artwork or collection of works.