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RIYADH: Saudi artist Basma Al-Nahdi takes her brush dipped in bright colors to paint abstract shapes and patterns on rocks for her small business on Instagram.

But, the 42-year-old is a unique performer. Al-Nahdi suffers from a very rare systemic syndrome called tuberous sclerosis, an organic brain disease that causes multiple intellectual and psychiatric problems. She has only one kidney and lives on an oxygen machine.

Al-Nahi loved drawing and art but was alone. To fight against isolation, Al-Nahdi’s mother, Souad Kandiel, thought of an activity to integrate her daughter into society.

“I wanted to provide the best quality of life for my daughter, who has vision problems and respiratory problems. She was very confused and depressed because she had nothing to do,” Kandiel told Arab News.

The first form of art created by man is cave painting which tells stories of civilizations. The mother and daughter duo created dominoes, tic-tac-toe games, funky characters and heritage-inspired designs on stones – to tell the world their stories.

“We first started giving birthday gifts to friends who asked for more of our artwork. I was surprised at people’s reactions, so we opened ‘Desert Stones’ on Instagram (in June ),” she said.

Basma Al-Nahdi, 42, suffers from a very rare systemic syndrome. She has only one kidney and lives on an oxygen machine. But nothing has stopped her from creating stone masterpieces that show boundless positivity. (Provided)

“The fact that you’re touching a piece of nature and feeling a connection to it and having a sense of grounding also makes this experience therapeutic,” Kandiel said.

They then joined a local bazaar to promote and sell their works. “What surprised me was the number of orders we received for Halloween and the heritage collection. But, we encountered a production problem because there were only two of us working on this project. Fortunately, volunteers helped make it happen.

Al-Nahdi now also gives rock painting workshops at Arty Cafe Jeddah for people with disabilities and for children who “enjoyed them”.

Kandiel believes it could be “a local industry for people with disabilities that could provide jobs for them. For example: some can draw while others can paint.”

She looks forward to collaborating with other Saudi artists and hopes to be supported by the Saudi Tourism Authority or the Saudi Tourism and National Heritage Commission to take their project to the next level.

“My daughter and I want to grow this business,” she said. “It would be nice if we could collect stones from all over the Kingdom so that we can mine them and offer them to tourists.”

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