In the city of Modica in Sicily, on the occasion of Easter Day, an ancient popular ritual called the “Madonna Vasa Vasa” is celebrated every year.

The statues of Christ and the Mourning Virgin come out of the church where they live looking for each other through the crowded streets.

At the stroke of noon, when the Madonna finally sees Christ, she frees herself from the black mantle and white doves fly into the sky. Surrounded by a devoted crowd, the Virgin blesses and kisses her son three times. The name “Vasa Vasa” derives from this symbolic gesture.

Through ten illustrations, with my colleague and friend Alfredo Covato, we reinterpreted the most significant moments of the modican Easter rite, from the mourning of Mary to the joy of them meeting.


The artworks

Emanuele Mandolfo

alfredo covato

The Artist's book

VASA - Vasa


The ten illustrations of this project are collected in the artist’s book realized in a Leporello format, “VASA – Vasa”. The book is packed inside a special hand-decorated black case with the shape of a cross. The external part recalls the symbols of the black veil of the mourning of the Madonna while, the internal part, has graphic elements that symbolize the passion of Christ.

Leporello “VASA – Vasa” – 2022.
Illustrated and created by Emanuele Mandolfo & Alfredo Covato [@uovoinscatola]

Closed 9×12,5cm | Open 9x45cm

Leporello _ Frabriano E/R, 220 Gr | Box _ Cordenons Notturno 22, 300 Gr

Limited Edition numbered and signed of 100 copies.

Paola Contino [Zazie Books] 


the exhibition


On the occasion of the presentation of the book, an exhibition of the original illustrated tables was organized at the Zazie bookshop in Modica. The exhibition and the entire project were curated by Paola Contino.

During the presentation, we wanted to thank all the participants with a live drawing performance that transformed the display of the Zazie bookstore into an artwork inspired by the book.

Photo by Lorenzo Sammito.