Celebrate the Women’s March with 24 Goddess GIFs Created by Animator Nina Paley: They’re Free to Download and Remix

As mil­lions of women, men, and friends beyond the bina­ry gear up for Wom­en’s March events around the world this week­end, we can’t help but draw strength from the Venus of Wil­len­dorf in Graph­ics Inter­change For­mat, above.

Like the pussy hats that became the most vis­i­ble sym­bol of last year’s march, there’s a strong ele­ment of humor at play here.

Also respect for the female form.

As Dr. Bryan Zyg­mont notes in his Khan Acad­e­my essay on the Venus of Wil­len­dorf, her exis­tence is evi­dence that “nomadic peo­ple liv­ing almost 25,000 years ago cared about mak­ing objects beau­ti­ful. And … that these Pale­olith­ic peo­ple had an aware­ness of the impor­tance of the women.”

Ani­ma­tor Nina Paley has tak­en up our Pale­olith­ic ances­tors’ baton by cre­at­ing two dozen ear­ly god­dess GIFs, includ­ing the Venus.

As fur­ther proof that sis­ter­hood is pow­er­ful, Paley is shar­ing her unashamed­ly boun­cy pan­theon with the pub­lic. Vis­it her blog to down­load all 24 indi­vid­ual god­dess GIFs. Dis­sem­i­nate them wide­ly. Use them for good! No per­mis­sion need­ed.

Paley is no stranger to god­dess­es, hav­ing pre­vi­ous­ly placed the divine hero­ine of the Ramayana front and cen­ter in her semi-auto­bi­o­graph­i­cal fea­ture length ani­ma­tion, Sita Sings the Blues.

She’s also incred­i­bly famil­iar with rights issues, fol­low­ing mas­sive com­pli­ca­tions with some vin­tage record­ings her Bet­ty Boop-ish Sita lip-synchs in the film. (She had pre­vi­ous­ly believed them to be in the pub­lic domain.) Unable to pay the huge sum the copy­right hold­ers demand­ed to license the tunes, Paley ulti­mate­ly decid­ed to relin­quish all legal claims to her own film, plac­ing Sita Sings the Blues in the pub­lic domain, to be freely shared, exhib­it­ed, or even remixed.

If Paley’s the poster child for copy­right issues she’s also a shin­ing exam­ple of deriv­ing pow­er from unlike­ly sources.

As she wrote on her web­site near­ly ten years ago:

My per­son­al expe­ri­ence con­firms audi­ences are gen­er­ous and want to sup­port artists. Sure­ly there’s a way for this to hap­pen with­out cen­tral­ly con­trol­ling every trans­ac­tion. The old busi­ness mod­el of coer­cion and extor­tion is fail­ing. New mod­els are emerg­ing, and I’m hap­py to be part of that. But we’re still mak­ing this up as we go along. You are free to make mon­ey with the free con­tent of Sita Sings the Blues, and you are free to share mon­ey with me. Peo­ple have been mak­ing mon­ey in Free Soft­ware for years; it’s time for Free Cul­ture to fol­low. I look for­ward to your inno­va­tions.

As for Paley’s own plans for her god­dess­es, they’ll be a part of her upcom­ing ani­mat­ed musi­cal, Seder-Masochism, not­ing that “all ear­ly peo­ples con­ceived the divine as female.”

Down­load Nina Paley’s God­dess GIFs here. Watch Sita Sings the Blues here. March ever onward!

Relat­ed Con­tent:

3D Scans of 7,500 Famous Sculp­tures, Stat­ues & Art­works: Down­load & 3D Print Rodin’s Thinker, Michelangelo’s David & More

How Ancient Greek Stat­ues Real­ly Looked: Research Reveals their Bold, Bright Col­ors and Pat­terns

The God­dess: A Clas­sic from the Gold­en Age of Chi­nese Cin­e­ma, Star­ring the Silent Film Icon Ruan Lingyu (1934)

Ayun Hal­l­i­day is an author, illus­tra­tor, the­ater mak­er and Chief Pri­ma­tol­o­gist of the East Vil­lage Inky zine. Join her on Feb­ru­ary 8 for Necro­mancers of the Pub­lic Domain, when a host of New York City-based per­form­ers and musi­cians will res­ur­rect  a long for­got­ten work from 1911 as a low bud­get, vari­ety show. Fol­low her @AyunHalliday.

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