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The Clam’s Kiss | Sogi a le faisua

 

The Clam’s Kiss | Sogi a le faisua [IPA: soŋɪ a lɛ faɪsʊa] is the UQ Art Museum’s online journal dedicated to forms of transoceanic relation, creativity, and knowledge.

 

A companion to the multi-year initiative Blue Assembly, The Clam’s Kiss | Sogi a le faisua publishes essays, reflections, interviews and poems in the spirit of ceremonial and political practices of reciprocity and affirmation that are evidenced in the sogi practice (shared breath of life or ritualised kiss) common across many Great Ocean cultures and restricted in a time of planetary health crisis. 

 

The words sogi and faisua (giant clam) are both drawn from editor Léuli Eshrāghi’s Sāmoan language, signalling the journal’s commitment to a multilingual approach to reading, listening, viewing and relating. With this online journal, we seek to sustain attention on the heating climates of multiple oceans through the metaphor of the giant clam, which symbolises interdependence as one of the keystone species of healthy reef ecosystems.

 

The known species of giant clam across equatorial oceans are important indicators of pelagic and reef health with their colourful iridescence signalling a rich and biodiverse environment. Revered and desired across the Great Ocean, they are both sustenance and symbolic repositories of storytelling. Acting as a host for marine life in need of safe haven or a nursery, they are highly responsive to shadow—their in-built defence mechanism—offering themselves as a site of refuge for other species to flourish. The importance of faisua’s interdependent knowledge and non-binary community offers a vital and complex metaphor for wayfinding into futures that enable planetary and interspecies wellbeing. 

 

Standing along the Maiwar river near its prized bend named Meanjin/Meeanjin (Brisbane), we recognise the indelible Jagera and Turrbal political, cultural, intellectual, performed and aesthetic practices, and sovereign governance of this special river territory that flows into Quandamooka waters before combining with the wider oceans. The continuing impacts of past and current settler colonial violences cannot be silenced or erased, but we sincerely wish that they be healed and restored. 

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The Clam’s Kiss | Sogi a le faisua is edited by Curatorial Researcher-in-Residence Dr Léuli Eshrāghi with Senior Curator Peta Rake, along with contributors resident across many oceans, who together channel a much-needed shift towards transoceanic ways of relating and thriving.

 

A special recognition goes to Soné Naomi Eshrāghi of the Sā Seumanutafa (Āpia), Sā Piliaʻe Faʻaseʻe Leliliʻo (Leulumoega), Sā Tautua (Salelologa), and Sā Manō (Siʻumu) clans, whose work in translation and restorative mental healthcare negotiates between aganuʻu Sāmoa and anglophone cultures, among many other roles. 

Editors: Léuli Eshrāghi and Peta Rake

Copyeditors: Evie Franzidis and Isabella Baker

Permissions and copyright: Isabella Baker

Design: Brent Wilson, Emma Gardner, and Fryer Library and Archives

 

All text © the authors and may not be used without permission of UQ Art Museum