Sheniz Janmohamed’s journey as a poet began at a young age, fueled by a passion for storytelling and a deep connection to her own experiences. Raised as a third-culture kid, she grappled with the challenges of not fitting into a single cultural narrative. Her early experiences of feeling like an outsider fuelled her artistic expression, especially during high school, where she sought solace in the library and began crafting her poems. 

She graduated from the University of Guelph's MFA program in creative writing with honours, where she claims she, acquired the skills necessary to write with more subtlety. Since then, it she has released three poetry collections: Reminders on the Path in 2021, Bleeding Light in 2010 and  Firesmoke in 2014. 

As she progressed through her artistic endeavours, she found herself drawn to the responsibility of representation as one of the few South Asian women performing spoken word in her community. This internal struggle to authentically represent her culture while embracing her individuality is a theme that resonates through her work, connecting with the United Nations Sustainable Development Goal for Reduced Inequalities by addressing the importance of diverse voices in the artistic landscape. 

Cover of Janmohamed's poetry book, Reminders on The Path. Image courtesy of Mawenzi House.

One distinctive aspect of her work is her intentional use of the Ghazal form, a poetic tradition dating back to seventh-century Persia. Despite initial skepticism about translating the Ghazal into English, Janmohamed discovered a profound connection to her ancestral lineage through this form, which she shared in an interview with Didhiti Kandel. This deliberate choice speaks to the importance of cultural heritage, language and the power of artistic expression in preserving and celebrating identity as well. 

A recurring theme in her advice to aspiring poets is the importance of authenticity. She encourages emerging poets to read widely, explore diverse perspectives, and find their unique voices. Her emphasis on authentic storytelling aligns by promoting a rich literary landscape that reflects the diversity of human experiences in an interview. 

In the intricate tapestry of artistic expression, the journey of a spoken word artist extends far beyond the confines of the stage. Having graced renowned platforms such as the Jaipur Literature Festival, Aga Khan Museum, and Vancouver Writers Fest, the artist has not only captivated audiences with the power of their words but has seamlessly woven a thread connecting literature and visual arts. As a testament to the relentless pursuit of creative evolution, the artist has ventured into the realms of nature and sand art, forging a harmonious companionship with their written narratives. 

Overall, Janmohamed’s artistic journey, rooted in personal narratives, cultural heritage, and a deep connection to nature, strives for inclusivity, environmental sustainability, and justice. Through her poetry and advocacy for authenticity, she continues to contribute to a broader conversation about identity, belonging, and the interconnectedness of humanity.

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