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Zorica Purlija


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About me

Zorica Purlija migrated age 8 from Montenegro, to Australia in1973: a country where she could not speak the language. As she learned to live in a different culture, she observed that the nuances of human interaction often were more revealing than the words. Graduating in 1989 with an Associate Diploma in graphic design and photography at The University of Western Sydney, Zorica spent some years travelling through Europe, experiencing life and art. She returned to Australia, began a family and devoted herself to full time mothering. Since 1999, Zorica has been pursuing her artistic vision, through the medium of photography. Initially pursuing themes of beauty, longing and the human experience through photographic portraiture, Zorica developed a unique ability to capture the essence of her subjects, beginning (and continuing) with a series of portraits of her muse, Yumi. More recently in addition to her portrait work, Zorica has been pursuing less figurative subjects, incorporating ethereal elements of landscape, and everyday objects seen in new ways. She continues to exhibit widely, and her public profile continues to build, including internationally, exhibiting in Chelsea New York, and recently in Venice. She has been a finalist in the National Photographic Portrait Prize, Canberra, three years consecutively, twice in Sydney’s HeadOn Portrait Prize, a finalist in the William and Winifred Bowness Photography Prize Melbourne, Duo Magazine Percival Photographic Portrait Prize, The Kuala Lumpur Photographic Portrait Award., Mama Art Foundation Photography Prize in Albury, the Josephine Urlick Award in Queensland and the Olive Cotton Award for Portraiture in Murwilumbar NSW to name a few. She currently is studying part time for a Masters of Art in Photomedia at UNSW School of Art and Design Paddington. Artist Statement I take inspiration from The Expressionists, where “the inner conflict of the sitter is reflected in the image, and we see directly beyond the mask into the soul. Intuition, insight and transcendence were the hallmarks of painters and writers to whom the purpose of art was to make manifest a new, higher, transfigured reality, this was Expressionism.” Munch believed the true subject is usually an inner one, the unattainable.

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  • Portraiture Photography
  • Art
  • Adobe Photoshop

Work history


Jan 2000
  • Bondi Beach, NSW 2026, Australia
  • Freelance
  • Fairfax Magazine Couple Portraits,Headshots,Fine Art Photography



Jun 2012
  • Paddington NSW 2021, Australia
  • Masters of art ,Photomedia major by coursework,part time.


Associate Diploma in Visual Arts

University of Western Sydney

Feb 1988 - Dec 1989
  • Second Ave, Kingswood NSW 2747, Australia
  • Graphic Design/Photography course ,major in Photography



Kudos Gallery Early Career Grant

UNSW Art and Design (COFA)

  • Curated a three week Photomedia ,video Exhibition Realising Mother at Kudos Gallery,Paddington NSW


Cultural Development Grant ARC Student services

UNSW Art and Design (COFA)

  • Grant to develop an Exhibition of Photography theme of Motherhood.