Bryan Beilke

Everyone knows the catchy McDonald’s tune featuring the classic slogan “I’m lovin’ it.” However, few would imagine that by simply changing a word and vertically flipping the iconic golden arches an anti-war slogan could be born.

A red sign with the phrase “I’m bombin’ it” beneath a yellow “W” is just one of many featured posters in the “Design of Dissent” exhibit, which opens today in the University Art Gallery.

The show includes several international artists and is comprised primarily of more than 100 posters. It focuses on social and political concerns worldwide in an artistic light.

“It features different issues from a historical standpoint, an educational viewpoint, and also deals with our current situation,” said Charmaine Martinez, curator of the exhibit and an art and design professor.

The gallery, located in the Dexter Building, is overwhelming with colorful displays of rebellion and conflict along with the artist’s evident desire for social and political change. Most predominant in the display is a strong anti-war sentiment.

A bathtub filled with blood, for instance, is pictured to remind people of the blood bath occurring in Israel, while the bloodshed of Bosnia is symbolized with a simple rusted knife engraved with the country’s name.

President Bush is the focus of many posters which question his war tactics, governing ability and overall character. For example, one piece plays off a popular milk campaign, showing him with a black milk mustache and the phrase “Got Oil?”

“The biggest thing for me is that (the show) can possibly be the start of conversation,” gallery coordinator Jeff Van Kleeck said. “You can think about these things and have conversations about them instead of just saying, ‘This is what you should believe.’”

Though the exhibit does lean more to the left on the political spectrum, its main goal is to inform the public and especially college-aged students of these controversial issues.

“The younger generation is going to define how the future goes more than other demographics, and they are essential to preserving freedom,” Martinez said. “There are issues here that people will disagree with – and that’s fine – but at least we’ll have these discussions.”

For those less interested in the war debate, there are works that focus on women’s rights, government control and an array of other social causes.

Designer, illustrator and author Mirko Ilic’ created the exhibit based on a book he co-authored titled “The Design of Dissent: Socially and Politically Driven Graphics.” He will speak about artists’ roles in the communication of political dissent from 5 to 6 p.m. tonight in the Business Building Rotunda (room 213).

Ilic’ was born in Bosnia and Herzegovina and began his career creating record covers, posters and comics in Europe before moving in 1986 to the United States, where he became art director for the international edition of Time Magazine and The New York Times Op-Ed pages. He currently owns his own company, Mirko Ilic’ Corp., a graphic design and 3-D graphics and motion picture title studio.

“At Cal Poly, we can get a little bit isolated,” Martinez said. “There are probably themes and issues in this show that students are not aware of, but it’s important that exposure not be avoided in any society.”

The free exhibit will be open tonight from 6 to 8 p.m. and will remain open from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. Tuesday through Saturday, or by special arrangement until Feb. 23.

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