• Kamilaroi woman, Ang Bennett, created these bin artworks using traditional dot-painting methods. (Supplied: Facebook)Source: Supplied: Facebook
Two Aboriginal women have notched up more than 80,000 likes between them on their 'bin artworks,' in an effort to bring a little light and culture into the dark times of isolation.
Shahni Wellington

22 Apr 2020 - 7:48 PM  UPDATED 23 Apr 2020 - 6:28 AM

During the COVID-19 pandemic, many people are turning to the internet for entertainment and some welcome distractions.

Facebook groups have taken the opportunity to create some light-hearted relief, including the phenomenon of 'Bin Isolating Outing.'

The group, which now has close to one million members, asks members to get to dressed up and take out their bins.

It calls for creativity and laughter when "the bin goes out more than us."

Making an art of it

It was in the 'Bin Isolation Outing' group that some Aboriginal artworks gained global attention.

While many people have dressed up in kooky fashions to take their bins out, two Indigenous women have used it as a platform to showcase their culture.

Kamilaroi woman, Ang Bennett, from the Central Coast of New South Wales, originally received more than 49,000 likes for her creation using traditional dot-painting methods.

Ms Bennett has been inspired by online groups that use laughter and beauty to distract others during the pandemic - 'Bin Isolation Outing' and 'Rainbow Trail Australia.'

"The Rainbow Trail has really pretty things that just make you smile," Ang Bennett explained.

"These two pages were a big part of my sanity, I wanted to contribute in my own way.

"I’m too shy to make a bin video so I figured I’d combine the two and rainbow up my bin," she said.

Ang Bennett doesn't consider herself an artist and does art as a hobby for fun and relaxation.

She said she was blown away by the response.

"I’ve been getting messages from people asking me if I sell art and if I’d start a bin wrap business," she said.

"I feel proud and shocked, I am conscious of how this reflects Aboriginal people and I don’t want to stuff it up."

It has also lead to an unexpected benefit, with Ang finding cultural connections through the post.

"Someone from Kamilaroi country saw it and connected with me," she said.

"It’s led me to connecting with extended family which is worth more than anything.

It took roughly 18 hours to create all three bins using acrylic and house paint.


Guringai woman, Sue Shilcock, is also in the group and was inspired by Ang's post.

"I saw it and said that's such a beautiful work, she's so talented," Sue said.

"And I thought you know what? I'm going to do one too."

Sue's post has also gathered thousands of likes and included an explanation of the story she depicted.

It reads:

"The large inner ochre dots represent desert people, the blue track from below and wrapping around our saltwater (coastal) people, with the green track wrapping around that freshwater (bush) people. Everyone coming together. People gather (U shapes) in circle. Black/red/yellow- people on the land nourished by the sun. Roo tracks up top, fish symbols below. One roo and one fish going against the trend cause they’re cheeky."

Ms Shilcock wanted to tell the story of her work, especially when catering to an international audience.

"To me that's such an important part of it," she said. 

"I think we've got a responsibility to educate people and carry stuff on and so I just put an explanation of what it was all about and put in a bit of a cheeky humour like we have."

The post has received comments from people in Denmark and South America, and all across Australia.

"It's just been a great thing. Like, it's so friendly and open and warm. People are just having a bit of fun and taking the stress out of such a stressful time," Ms Shilcock said.

While these artworks aim to connect people at time of social distancing, it's best to check with your local council before attempting to paint your residential bin.

NITV has contacted a waste company who says permanently 'damaged' assets would need to be replaced.