Carnival emerges as an expression filled with nuances and paradoxes. While it challenges social norms and breaks established conventions, it is also vulnerable to governmental appropriation and its transformation into a tourist product. Examples of this duality can be seen in various forms, from the revered Afro bloc Ilê Aiyê in Bahia, Brazil, to the carnivals of Mindelo, Cape Verde; Bissau, Guinea-Bissau; and the Carnival of Vitória in Luanda, Angola. These celebrations highlight the power of Carnival to amplify marginalized voices and solidify national identities in areas of rich cultural diversity. Specifically, the Carnival of Quelimane in Mozambique stands as a testament to the celebration of local traditions, particularly from the Zambézia region. Broadening the lens to the “carnivalesque” universe, defined by its paradigm shifts, performance, humor, and a world of inversions, this article highlights the artistic contributions of figures such as Ayrson Heráclito, Alex da Silva, Kiluanji Kia Henda, and Filipe Branquinho. The works of these artists are analyzed as reflections of decolonial practices, intertwined with discourses of resistance against the exploitation of natural and cultural resources. Through their art, the ambiguous contours of Carnival are outlined, emphasizing its subversive and decolonial essence. In its choreography of celebration, resistance, and critique, Carnival establishes itself as a space for innovation, questioning, and sociocultural reflection.

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