Glenda Nicholls, a weaver, received $30,000 for her wearable sculpture "A Woman's Rite of Passage" at the 2015 Victorian Indigenous Art Awards at the Art Gallery of Ballarat over the weekend.
The winning work, described by judges as "deeply spiritual", consists of three woven cloaks that represent Indigenous women and the role they play in Welcome to Country ceremonies.
Originally from Swan Hill, and now based in Mackay, Queensland, Ms Nicholls is a Wadi Wadi, Yorta Yorta and Ngarrindjeri woman.
She was taught to weave by her mother and grandmother. Now a grandmother herself, she is committed to passing on her skills and knowledge to the next generation.
Four other artists were named as category winners at the ceremony.
Art teacher Raymond Young won the Victorian Indigenous Art Award for Three Dimensional Works for "From the Ground Up".
The Doncaster East artist first came to art through an Indigenous art-in-prison program that inspired him to make art that connected him to his culture.
Other winners included Peter Waples-Crowe of West Melbourne who won the Works on Paper prize for "My Dingo Spirit, SOS: They Kill my Kin(d)".
The award for work by a Victorian Regional Artist went to Troy Firebrace for his piece "Galaxy Swirl", while Brendan Kennedy's 'Wangi Withinu Ngauwingi Walwa" took out the award for Work Based on Spirituality and Cultural Tradition.
All category winners received $5,000 in prize money.
"Their works have created a stunning exhibition that showcases deep pride, connection to culture and incredible artistry"
Victoria’s Minister for Creative Industries, Martin Foley, congratulated all winners and finalists.
"Their works have created a stunning exhibition that showcases deep pride, connection to culture and incredible artistry," he said in a press release. "It’s an exhibition that all Victorians should experience."
This year marks the 10th anniversary of the Victorian Indigenous Art Awards, an event established to celebrate the quality, diversity and uniqueness of Indigenous art practice throughout south-east Australia.
The awards also aim to provide a career stepping stone for Indigenous artists born or based in the State.
Over the past 10 years, the work of many finalists have been acquired by collectors and galleries, including the National Gallery of Victoria, the Koorie Heritage Trust and the Art Gallery of Ballarat.
The 2015 finalists' work will be on show at the Art Gallery of Ballarat until 20 September.