Ghanim bin Khalifa Al Zuwaibi is asking Qataris to watch out after the discovery of mysterious symbols etched into the tops of sand dunes.
The surprising discovery in the northern deserts of the Gulf state came after Al Zuwaibi, head of Qatar University’s Interior School, spotted a carving on one of the sand dunes by the Arabian Sea.
“I knew something strange was going on as the rock I was looking at, in the shape of a mosque, was in the middle of an empty desert,” he said in a statement on Qatar’s official news agency.
The 6-foot-tall Palestinian-Dutch artist, known for his work with paper cutouts, made the first of the eight carved geometric designs on Sept. 22. Al Zuwaibi found the second and fourth at the same location on Oct. 5.
Qatar University archaeologist Nasser Al Saadi said the most striking of the images — including one featuring a bridge over a bazaar — appears to have been etched by Al Zuwaibi, adding that the markings were a permanent reminder of his passion for art, the dune in question was where Al Zuwaibi got his inspiration for the work.
“I am convinced the set of geometric squares was carved by Khalifa Al Zuwaibi himself and not by a professional artist,” Al Saadi said.
Qatar has been hit hard by economic and diplomatic isolation since July 2018 when four Arab countries — Saudi Arabia, United Arab Emirates, Bahrain and Egypt — cut ties with the small, wealthy nation.
The split followed Qatar’s support for Islamist groups, most prominently the Muslim Brotherhood, an ideology with roots in the offshoots of the pan-Arab and pan-Islamic movements that have come to power in Egypt, Tunisia and Libya.
The United States, which has close ties to Qatar and uses its sprawling al-Udeid Air Base, the site of an Air Force command center, has also taken sides in the Gulf feud.