Ben Enwonwu, a Nigerian artist, was born on July 14, 1917, and died on February 5, 1994. Prince of Mali is inspired by Leopold Senghor's 1945 work "Femme Noire". Enwonwu interacted with Leopold Senghor in France and adopted his ideas about Pan-African cultural emancipation.
The artwork was created in 1976. The painting was sold by the auction house Bonhams in 2014, and it is according to the provenance description:
"Enwonwu welds indigenous notions of power to political demands for black empowerment. The vibrancy and movement of the figures represent Enwonwu's accordance with the inherent philosophies of the Negritude philosophy: emancipation and celebration of the Africans and their land. The vibrancy of colour which collides to yield new forms permeates the social and cultural fabric of African societies. This work expresses the present state of neo-African culture, which includes Enwonwu's heritage of indigenous Igbo and Nigerian art, his formal academic training and his transitional modernist practice, insights acquired from his analysis of European Modern art, and influences derived from his engagement with the rhetoric of Senghor's Negritude."