Balmain artist Mirra Whale has won the $20,000 Eutick Memorial Still Life Award (EMSLA) for 2019.
Sprats & vino, an oil on canvas work, was selected from among 55 finalists by judge Jane Watters.
The winning entry was revealed during a gala opening of the EMSLA exhibition at Project Contemporary Artspace in Wollongong on Friday night.
Two artworks received Highly Commended accolades - Trish Tait, from Knockrow, with her piece Modern Australian and Rene Bolten, from Georgica, with Coupes.
Both artworks are oil on canvas.
This is Whale's first EMSLA win, although she has featured as a finalist previously.
She has also been a regular finalist in the Archibald Prize.
Ms Watters said it was the inherent stillness of the artwork which won Whale this year's EMSLA prize.
"The stillness of her piece comes from a quiet observation of the object she has chosen to feature," Ms Watters said.
"She has animated her subject in a subtle way with the shadows and it comes to life under her skills and expertise.
"Both this artwork and the highly commended pieces have a type of emptiness in them that allows us to step out of our modern life with all of its business and find the space to reflect and engage."
The award drew entries from throughout the country, and eight Illawarra artists were among the 55 national finalists.
The Illawarra finalists were Gail Wistow, Leanne Harrison-Davies, Craig Handley, Lisa Fahey, John Bokor, Ahn Nguyen, Ken Finlayson and Arthur Apanski.
Founded in 2006 by Dr Mal Eutick and based in Wollongong since 2017, the Eutick Memorial Still Life Award has become a premier still life award.
Still life painting emerged in Europe in the 16th Century. It traditionally involved arrangements of fruit, flowers and natural objects - dead or alive.
Famous still life painters include Vincent van Gogh, Claude Monet, Henri Matisse, Salvador Dali and Andy Warhol.
EMSLA director Dr Leigh Summers said the reputation of both the EMSLA and the artists taking part in the award was growing exponentially each year.
"Still life art continues to develop and adapt as artists experiment with what the genre means to them in a contemporary setting," she told the Mercury.
"There is no doubt about the skill required to realistically reproduce natural objects but artists are no longer constrained by traditional ideals of what still life art is all about."
The EMSLA exhibition will be on display in Wollongong until December 1.