Our Great Yorkshire Life: Meet the veterinary surgeon Avneet Cheema who combines art and animal welfare

For Yorkshire-based Avneet Cheema, his work as a veterinary surgeon and his passion for art go hand in hand.

Born in Huddersfield, Dr Avneet knew from a young age that he wanted to work with animals.

“There are few things I am 100 per cent certain of in life, my core certainty is that I love animals”, he said. “I have had a love for animals since I was very, very young.

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“When we reflect on ourselves as people, like how do you find life meaningful? To me, it's just consistently been to serve animals and celebrate animals.”

Avneet Cheema is a veterinary surgeon and artist based in Yorkshire. He is appearing on the new series of Our Great Yorkshire Life on Channel 5.

Laughing, he added: “It’s funny because I actually grew up in a South Asian household so we didn't have a lot of animals.

”I went to vet school and all the other students had lived with horses and farm animals and I was like, ‘I've never even had a dog!’”

Dr Avneet has worked as a locum vet now in Yorkshire for several years, driving across the county to help animals in need.

However, his dedication reaches further than his veterinary career.

Avneet Cheema is hosting the Blue Earth exhibition at Mill Bridge Gallery from July 15 to August 2. He is working alongside artist Marisa Marquez.

Always a creative soul - he took art at A-Level alongside the more traditional biology, chemistry and maths - he is also an animal illustrator and sculpturist based at Mill Bridge Gallery in Skipton.

His work focuses on celebrating animals and the natural world, with an emphasis on conservation.

He says people are often surprised at how much his artistry and surgical work crossover.

“It's interesting because I feel like art and veterinary science are quite translatable,” he explains.

“There is a certain dexterous overlay between being a surgeon and an artist. Tying intricate wires into a sculpture keeps the fingers well practised for surgery.

“I found it quite helpful when I first graduated as my hands felt quite natural being very specific and intricate with tasks such as surgical suture.”

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His latest work is an exhibition celebrating marine life.

The Blue Earth exhibition celebrates our oceans, displaying Dr Avneet's intricate sculptures of sea life, along with the freehand drawings and paintings by fellow artist Marisa Marquez.

Together both artists will host art workshops for local school children and fundraise for the Yorkshire Wildlife Trust and the Whale and Dolphin conservation.

Dr Avneet said: “This exhibition has multifaceted intentions, it's not just about art. It's about conservation, climate change, community, teaching, reflection and philanthropy.”

Alongside the exhibition, he is sharing his love for animals and the natural world by starring in Channel 5’s latest series of Our Great Yorkshire Life.

The show will see him search for artistic inspiration from the Yorkshire landscape, including a hunt for a rare animal.

His appearance came about after being spotted by the show’s producers, the Leeds-based Daisy Beck Studios, while selling art at The Great Yorkshire Show in Harrogate.

Dr Avneet said: “The show is all about Yorkshire folk, celebrating what it is to be from Yorkshire and all the interesting things are going on in Yorkshire.

“Filming started off in the clinics with me talking about what it is to be a vet and then it kind of goes off into the countryside and we go on a little adventure.

“It's actually a conservation adventure, where I'm going to sort of do a bit of artwork on on a more endangered species in the UK, which is quite exciting.

“The veterinary work and being an artist is quite full on but it keeps me very happy. I feel very aligned."

The ‘Blue Earth’ exhibition will be at Mill Bridge Gallery from July 15 to August 2.

The new series of Our Great Yorkshire Life starts on July 7 at 8pm on Channel 5.