RAY Thomas won Victoria's largest indigenous art prize, the Deadly Art Award, for a portrait of his mother.
Thomas, of Melbourne, won the $30,000 prize at the Victorian Indigenous Art Awards in Ballarat yesterday.
Judges described the oil painting, called A Gunnai Elder - Mum Alice, as ''a work of singular spiritual power''.
Finalists showcased traditional and contemporary art, ranging from woodwork and sculpture to paintings, video art, and photography.
Georgia MacGuire of Maryborough won $5000 for a three-dimensional paper-bark and plastic-bandage artwork called Ill-Fitted Young.
Torquay artist Bronwyn Razem also won a prize for her traditionally woven eel trap with emu feathers.
State Minister for the Arts, Heidi Victoria, said the awards aimed to raise the profile of Victorian indigenous artists.
"The Victorian Indigenous Art Awards seek to showcase the unique character of indigenous arts," said Ms Victoria.
The final award is the People's Choice Award, worth $2,500.
Ms Victoria encouraged the public to go online or visit the exhibition at the Art Gallery of Ballarat, and cast their vote.