Seema Akhtar is a self-taught artist, full-time speechwriter and mother of three who lives in Ottawa. Her painting process is playful, emotional and intuitive. When she paints, Seema drops into her heart to explore colour, movement and mark making. She never knows where a piece will take her, but trusts the process. Her inspiration is the beauty of nature and the magic of music, song lyrics and words. Seema's paintings are usually made up of many layers, with the first layer often being words from a poem or a song lyric scrawled onto the panel. Sometimes these words poke through the finished piece, and sometimes they are a hidden message for the viewer to intuit. This quote from Rebecca Makkai speaks to why Seema paints: "We're all going about trying to make beauty in the world and trying to make order out of chaos. And that's what art is." Seema is also motivated by a desire to contribute to her community. At the beginning of the pandemic, Seema created pieces on paper that she offered by donation to raise funds for women and children experiencing domestic violence, which was on the rise because of stay-at-home orders. Seema has since donated at least 50% of the proceeds of every sale. This year, she will support Hope Healing Transformation, an organization that supports and empower survivors of sexual assault on their healing path.