Inkspirations: At UCC’s Jennings Gallery

Words: Ellen Desmond

Kaumal Baig is a 4th year Dental Student at UCC, who grew up in Cork with Asian roots. Holding the title of Quercus Creative and Performing Arts Scholar (2015/16), it’s not too difficult to see why Kaumal has managed to achieve this accolade.

With no formal training in art, she claims she doesn’t know the “fancy terminology,” and can’t recite the names of revered artists or influential works from Art History. Instead, having grown up with a keen interest in mathematics and the sciences, Kaumal’s ink drawings strongly reflect her other interests through their meticulous execution, systematic patterns and rigorous crisp, clear, permanent lines.

Kaumal’s art is well known to many students of University College Cork, predominantly as a result of her strong social media presence. Facebook page ‘Kaumal Baig Art INKstinct’ and Instagram account kbaig93 are regularly updated and have come to the attention of many. However, Inkspirations is her first solo art exhibition.

Artwork by Kaumal Baig.
Artwork by Kaumal Baig.

Inkspirations showcases 38 pieces of work, all done over a span of two years. “It’s almost like a timeline for me,” Kaumal says of the pieces on display. “Different commissions, doodles from sketchbooks that were blown up, varying interests that came and went. It’s amazing to see the support coming from everywhere and I’m really so thankful for it!”

Kaumal herself is undoubtedly one of the many reasons her art has come to so much attention around campus; she’s as likeable and honest as the works themselves and says that she couldn’t be happier to donate parts of any proceeds to charities.

At the exhibition, the pieces are unavoidably stunning in their exactness and work together with a brilliant flow of motifs and consistency in style. An individual piece, even the smallest among the collection, could hold one’s attention for hours. For an artist who claims to have no formal training, her technical precision is more than impressive, especially in the attention to minuscule details.

Artwork by Kaumal Baig.
Artwork by Kaumal Baig.

Kaumaul says: “As hippie as I might sound, I love the meditative quality that drawing out patterns has. It’s like running – where at some point you feel like you’re thinking about absolutely nothing at all. I just love that feeling. I think everyone should have something that makes them switch off completely. It’s great to just plug in my headphones and focus on only one thing as opposed to everything else that’s happening. You can really get lost in it for hours.”

The high quality as well as large quantity of this body of work shows her dedication for her art, and it’s clear that the process behind creating the pieces means a lot to this passionate artist.

“Drawing lets me temporarily leave behind the madness, frustrations, expectations placed upon each of us. It lets me forget the times I’ve let others down, times when things feel they couldn’t be any worse, times when things haven’t been ok. It brings back into perspective all the things I love about life the adventure, the experimentation and doing things for the simple pleasure, as opposed to the result driven road it can feel like. Simply put art makes me happy.”

Artwork by Kaumal Baig.
Artwork by Kaumal Baig.

December can be a crazy and frustrating time for most students; taking a trip down to Brookfield’s Jennings Gallery was a welcome escape, one which comes highly recommended as a way to wind down.

‘Inkspirations’ is on display at the Jennings Gallery creative space in Brookfield Health Science Complex until the 27th of January. Original drawings and giclée prints are available for purchase through the gallery. Kaumal Baig will donate part of the proceeds of sales to CUH Charity and Operation Smile.