Yellow Peril Gallery presents “32 Ghosts” by Toby Barnes at The Drawing Room, in conjunction with LANA’s sixth annual conference in Providence


TOBY BARNES, Garland Spring (2015), synthetic polymer on printed canvas, 48” x 72”

TOBY BARNES, Garland Spring (2015), synthetic polymer on printed canvas, 48” x 72”

TOBY BARNES | 32 Ghosts
AUGUST 7 – 9, 2015

The Drawing Room
479 Washington Street
Unit 1
Providence, RI 02903

Opening Reception:
Friday, August 7, 6PM – 9PM

Special Exhibition Hours:
Saturday + Sunday, 12PM–5PM


Yellow Peril Gallery is pleased to present 32 Ghosts, a mixed media exhibition exploring ritual practices, individuals, and the nonhuman world in everyday life by Toby Barnes at The Drawing Room from August 7 – 9, 2015. The opening reception will be hosted by Yellow Peril Gallery, the Laotian Community Center of Rhode Island and the Laotian American National Alliance (LANA), in conjunction with LANA’s sixth annual national conference in Providence in 2015.

32 Ghosts is inspired by an indigenous ritual that takes places in Laos and Northeastern Thailand (Issan) called Baci Su Kwan. In this ceremony — which usually marks an important event such as a birth, wedding, graduation, or becoming a monk — a community invokes the “kwan,” the 32 spirits believed to inhabit a person’s body and correspond to their 32 organs. They roam and wonder, and the baci is their invocation to return back to the body and bring harmony and balance to the person.   At the heart of the baci ceremony is an artistic practice to compose an elaborate ornamental piece called the Baci Su Kwan. This artistic practice is complex and involves a pedestal encasing banana leaves, candles, flowers, and other fruit and food offerings, along with a series of strings that are attached to the person celebrated and to the members of the community.

“Rituals permeate our lives, yet despite their important presence we rarely reflect on how much they depend upon the nonhuman world and its “magic” to help us commemorate, define, and re-enchant our lives,” remarks Barnes. “Whether it’s rituals like a morning run and a cup of coffee over a newspaper, or “showers” to commemorate an upcoming wedding or the birth of a child, these rituals engage with “matter” (trees, paper, bridal shower decorations) in ways that reflect more than utilitarian goals, seeking to bring about personal harmony, “good luck,” and to commemorate beginning and endings.”

To explore these relations between rituals, people, and matter, this exhibition draws upon the Baci Su Kwan practice. Through a blend of painting over photographic collages, Barnes creates a contemporary reinterpretation of the Baci Su Kwan. This mixed-media installation will include a Baci Su Kwan ceremony performed by monks from the Wat Lao Dhammaramto.

This exhibition has been made possible through a generous A.R.T. Fund Grant from the Berkshire Taconic Community Foundation, and thanks to the support of the Laotian Community Center of Rhode Island, the Laotian American National Alliance (LANA), The Drawing Room, and Campus Fine Wines.

 The opening reception for 32 Ghosts is Friday, August 7, from 6PM – 9PM.  The exhibition will be on display until Sunday, August 9, 2015 at The Drawing Room.

About Toby Barnes
Born in Miami, Florida, TOBY BARNES is an artist of Thai-American heritage. He earned his BFA (1997) from Cooper Union and his MFA (1999) from the University of Michigan. Barnes has exhibited nationally and internationally, including most recently solo shows in Providence, India, and invitations to exhibit in Miami, Japan, P.S.1 MOMA and galleries throughout the greater New York City area. His work has been reviewed in publications such as The Japan Times, Art Asia Pacific, Time Out (Bengaluru), The Hindu, Nishi Nihon Shimbun, Artnet, Valley Gazette and The Phoenix, has been featured in the cover of publications such as Time Out India and NYArts Magazine. In 2008-2009, Barnes participated in the Emerge 10 program at Aljira: A Center for Contemporary Art in Newark, NJ. Barnes is currently based in Amherst, MA. For more info about Barnes, visit

 About the Laotian American National Alliance (LANA)
The Laotian American National Alliance (LANA) is the premier resource and advocacy organization in the United States who strives to cultivate the strengths and leadership of all Laotian Americans comprising of the diverse ethnic communities from Hmong, Iu-Mien, Khmu, Lahu, Lao, Tai Lue, Phu Tai, Tai Dam, Tai Phuan and other descendants from Laos who make up the dynamic, collective Laotian American community. The mission, of the Laotian American National Alliance, Inc. (LANA) as a national organization, is dedicated to advancing the social, and economic well-being of Laotian Americans in the United States through civic participation and public policy advocacy. For more information visit

About The Laotian Community Center of Rhode Island
The Laotian Community Center (LCC) of Rhode Island was founded by a dedicated group of Lao American who were passionate in preserving Lao Cultures and traditions. In 2000, LCC became a 501(C)3 non-profit organization. The Center bases their teaching programs in Smithfield, RI and has a satellite office in the Southside Cultural Center at 393 Broad St, Providence, RI.  The youth are the core participants of their programs. The Center supports activities to preserve Lao arts, culture and youth development. For more information, visit

About Yellow Peril Gallery
Founded in 2011, YELLOW PERIL GALLERY is a contemporary art gallery located at The Plant, a historic mill complex in the Olneyville neighborhood of Providence, Rhode Island. The Gallery fosters modern art critiques on popular culture and society from emerging, mid-career and established artists in the United States and abroad. Our inventory comprises of works of art from critically acclaimed artists who have been featured in biennials and museum exhibitions, participated in top tier art fairs and acquired by private collectors worldwide. Artists that we represent share our commitment to social responsibility, and 10% from the sale of all artwork is donated to a charitable organization of the Artists’ choice. For more info about future exhibitions, visit

About The Drawing Room
In 2015, John Tabor Jacobson launched The Drawing Room which serves as a home, gallery and studio. The mission of The Drawing Room is to promote drawing locally, regionally and internationally. John Tabor Jacobson views The Drawing Room as an extension of his creative practice.  The goal through collaboration is to help build community and to be inspired and feel fulfilled as an artist. “The art world, commodification and ego drive many people to view artists as individuals but I view the identity of an artist to be much more complex,” notes Jacobson. “Ultimately I am more drawn to artistic movements, scenes and communities and what makes them thrive.” For more info about The Drawing Room, visit and John Tabor Jacobson at

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If you’d like more information about this press release, or to schedule an interview with TOBY BARNES, please contact Vanphouthon Souvannasane at +1 917 655 1497 or via e-mail at