The Religare Arts Initiative is back with the second edition of its artists’ residency program that was first held in 2009. “The Why Not Place" summer residency program invites 16 artists from India and abroad to ponder upon transforming states—in this case, the transforming state of New Delhi in preparation of the upcoming Commonwealth Games that the city will host in a few months time.

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The artists have been working for a month each at Religare’s studio space in Connaught place—an area which is at the heart of much of the city’s reconstruction work. Artworks involve paintings, wall drawings and large-scale installations. The works will open to the public in a grand exhibition on 10 August and then run through the month.

The residency is part of the two year-old Religare Art Initiative’s commitment to building a holistic arts initiative. And Mukesh Panika, director, Religare Arts Initiative, believes it will be one of their long-standing projects. Religare also runs an art fund, a gallery, a cafe and a curio store, all within the same premises.

The residency is primarily geared for emerging and mid-career artists ranging across different media and sensibilities. They’re being mentored by two US-based senior artists, Sumakshi Singh and Paola Cabal, who are present to help the artists with any doubts they might have.

While the underlying theme for the residency is ‘transforming states’, the interpretations have been varied. Koustuv Nag, an artist from Kolkata, is creating an installation with white rubber bands to simulate organs and tissues. For him, it signifies how Connaught Place is growing organically to accomodate the upcoming games. For another artist, Brad Biancardi from Chicago in the US, this transforming state is more personal. “I haven’t been in Delhi long enough to understand how the city is changing. My artwork comments on how my art has changed with this change of place," says Biancardi.

Panika elaborates that India in the last decade has been a keen example of both: macro and micro changes. “With the approaching Games, the city is undergoing a rapid transformation and we believed that it would make a fertile topic for young artists."

“Why Not Place" will run from 10 to 29 August 2010 at Religare Arts, 7 Atmaram Mansion, Scindia House, Connaught Place, New Delhi-01.