In Semolina Stomach, performance artist Hannah Ní Mhurachú stands against a wall holding a semolina dough against her stomach. She cradles it the way a pregnant woman would cradle her belly, all while encouraging audiences to take spoonfuls of her belly to eat. Ní Mhurachú states that the piece reflects the complicated relationship between womanhood and food. It is her look into the unpaid labour that goes into the sentiment “women belong in the kitchen,” a testament to the overlooked work mothers and women provide that has permanently altered the lives of generations of women. This is why Semolina Stomach by Hannah Ní Mhurachú is aligned with the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals of Gender Equality, Decent Work And Economic Growth and Zero Hunger.

Semolina Stomach by Hannah Ní Mhurachú. Image courtesy of Hannah Ní Mhurachú’s website.

The performance Semolina Stomach is accompanied by From my Guts to Yours, a conceptual recipe which guides both artist and viewers into performing and understanding the piece. At a glance, the conceptual recipe looks like any other recipe that tells people how to make the semolina dough that Ní Mhurachú holds against her stomach during the performance. However, upon closer inspection, this recipe comes with some rather strange instructions that comment on the traditional gender roles shared between mothers and fathers in a family. “Tell the kids to dig in and have a flat stomach by the time the husband is home!” states the recipe, playfully digging at how housewives are overburdened with child rearing and the expectations of catering to their husband’s needs.

From my Guts to Yours, a recipe used in Semolina Stomach by Hannah Ní Mhurachú. Image courtesy of

During the performance, Ní Mhurachú’s expressions ebb and flow, going from joy to disgust, tiredness and finally resignation. Without a doubt, she is attempting to channel what a woman feels during the times they had to provide unpaid care work. By representing these emotions in her performance, Ní Mhurachú is also validating the experiences of these women, as if saying, “You are not alone,” acknowledging the diversity of their experience that may not always be joyful and is also not all bad.

Semolina Stomach by Hannah Ní Mhurachú. Image courtesy of Hannah Ní Mhurachú’s website.

The Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) stated in a report that a decrease in women’s unpaid care work is related to a ten percent point increase in women’s labour force participation, directly increasing a country’s GDP per capita and its urbanization rate. On top of that, the same report states that in countries where women spend twice as much time as men in unpaid care work, they still only earn 65 percent of their male counterparts when they enter the workforce. This number further drops to 40 percent in countries where women are spending five times the amount of time on unpaid care work.

Semolina Stomach by Hannah Ní Mhurachú. Image courtesy of Hannah Ní Mhurachú’s website.

This is the harsh reality that Semolina Stomach by Hannah Ní Mhurachú captures, albeit in a rather morbid tongue-in-cheek fashion. The performance will only end when all the semolina dough from Ní Mhurachú’s belly has been eaten by the audience. The left-over dough makes it look like the audience has eaten a chunk of Ní Mhurachú’s belly. She is left to die, malnourished and skinny, as so far, she has only taken the occasional small bites of semolina, which represents food and care. She dies after providing for an entire room of people despite the fact that she had early and prime access to food and care.

Find out more about Semolina Stomach by Hannah Ní Mhurachú and their other pieces by checking their Instagram on

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