Baraah al Mujaini
Plagued by a medical condition since she was a baby, the parents of little Saba al Rashdi are proof that a kid's potential does not lie on just outward appearances alone but rather the nurturing environment that brings out the best in them.
Raising a kid with special needs, little Sabah's parents discovered that while she may not able to express herself in the 'normal ways,' giving her art materials had allowed them to understand their child better.
We realized she has a special inclination towards painting and drawing and knowing this, we provided her with the tools and materials that allow her to express herself, Mr and Mrs Al Rashdi said.
The couple, upon initial discovery of their daughter's talent, had reached out to a well-known artist to help them decipher the meaning behind their daughter's creation. It is here they got their confirmation that their daughter has a unique point of view.
Recognizing the considerable progress in Saba’s drawings provoked her parents to devote extensive care to her talent especially since some artists were impressed by her exceptional workings as a child.
Every painting Saba drew was always praised and highly valued by her parents, “I always admire her painting and we've given her the motivation she needs to continue," the father said.
To even further strengthen their daughter's confidence, the whole family had given Saba the title "the artist" as an acknowledgement and support to what she can do.
“It is the parents’ mission to notice and discover their child’s talent, even those children with birth defects have hobbies and talents. A child, regardless of medical conditions, must have a talent,” Saba’s father stressed.
Her physical and mental limitations did not stop Saba from engaging in different activities and competitions. She has participated in many art workshops and competitions. Locally, “Saba won the second place in a competition sponsored by General Director of Education, on the occasion of the Omani National Day,” Saba’s father said.
Regionally, Saba got the silver medal as the best artist in Cairo Capital of Islamic Culture for Painting Competition. The theme of the competition was “Cairo viewed from kids eyes around the world”. Saba’s meaningful painting showed an Omani girl giving a flower to an Egyptian girl in front of an Egyptian landmark (Al-Fath Mosque).
This accomplishment had a great influence on Saba, particularly, and on the family in general. “We have received supportive words from everyone. Some of my friends sent gits and voicemails to Saba directly, which have a special impact on Saba as she felt proud and appreciated,” Saba’s father said.
One of Saba's earlier challenges is her capacity to adapt and assimilate with others with hindered her from learning in school. Ever since she started joining art clubs and workshops and her parents give her more lee-way to practice her art, her health significantly improved and so followed her mental health.
Saba's painting is a reflection of her mental strength and agility. Her optimistic perspective of life is reflected in her choices of bright colours. She is also very observant that taking inspiration from the world around her and in particular, Oman's diverse landscape.
“I always take her to art exhibitions, encourage her to enjoy the glorious sunset, incredible sunrise, and various landscapes in our country. I believe this will shape her artistic talent gradually,” Saba’s father said.
As a step taken by Saba’s parents to support their daughter, and all kids either normal or the less fortunate ones, they have decided at the beginning of 2022 to create a page on Instagram @saba.alrashdhi which showcases some of Saba's work including all her accomplishments and awards — the page created to inspire others too to support their children's pursuit of interest.
As a message to other parents, Saba's father said, “Help your child. Invest in their potential. What you put in will come back to you one day when you see them happy and thriving. Their success is a reflection of the support they get and the reward may contribute significantly in changes in society, country and maybe the world,” Saba’s father said.