If you live in Melbourne it's pretty hard to miss that South African artist William Kentridge is own his way. His exhibition Five Themes opens at ACMI 8 March. Between billboards and tabloid supplements I am prepped, keen, and a little delirious with anticipation. I never resort to CAPS but on this occasion, anything less would be playing it cool. Kentridge does not play cool. He is warm, humane, wise and oh so good. I know, it's like I know him, which I don't, so that's a sure fire sign I am a fan. This retrospective, a last stop on a giddy world tour, has been organised according to Kentridge's thematic obsessions. I am looking forward to the animations and charcoal works, and also, seeing more than a few pieces, which is how I've viewed Kentridge's works up until now in biennale's over the years. Just over the weekend I was ruminating on Kentridge's appeal. Not for him small artworld conversations. On paper his work doesn't sound promising: figurative, narrative, political. What is it? The 1980s? Okay, he has breathtaking draughtsmanship skills. But an appreciation of his formal abilities–awe inspiring though they may be, sidesteps his true gift. In the forceful lines laid down and erased, in the dense pastels and smudged charcoals there's confusion, compassion and love for humankind.