Diario Judío México - “Art is Time, Time is life” is the name of a new exhibit by Rafael “Fallo” Mareyna that is currently on display at the La Jolla Library. Both “Art” and “Time” have played important roles in Mareyna’s life.   He has had a talent for art, but didn’t really have time to express or explore that except for in his early life and in his later life.

Mareyna, 88, is a widower who was born in Veracruz, Mexico in 1930. His parents were Polish Jews who arrived in Mexico in 1924. They moved to Mexico City a few years later as times were hard and they were struggling immigrants.

As a young boy, he attracted his teacher’s attention with his natural ability to draw. He began to paint with oil and continued painting for the next 15 years or so, exhibiting in different galleries in Mexico City, Monterrey and he even had a show in New York City while he was in high school. He studied with Bardasano, a Spanish artist known for his classical paintings. He also studied under the renowned Canadian born, Jewish Mexican painter, Arnold Belkin, who later became a good friend.

However, it is difficult to make a living as an artist and as was the social norm for Jews in Mexico at that time, he decided to follow a more traditional path, especially after he married the love of his life, Dora [Dorita] Sorokin. They had two children, and he needed to provide for his family, so he left art to pursue a more lucrative career, using his degree in accounting.

For almost 30 years, he provided very well for his family. He first worked at a family owned business that produced bed frames. In 1963, he teamed up with a German Jewish refugee , Luis Rosenfeld, and together, they opened up one of the first private stock brokerages in Mexico, Bursamex, S.A. Rosenfeld was much older and after his passing, Mareyna  became the sole owner. Bursamex was very successful and when Mareyna decided to retire in 1992, he sold it for a handsome profit.

He did not paint for all those years, so his art was put on the back burner. However, he still retained his bohemian heart and befriended many of the local artists in Mexico. Many a night his house was alive with artists and bohemians, some famous, some not. They all exchanged ideas and showed off their work.

In 1998, Mareyna and his family moved to San Diego to begin a new chapter in life, and he began to feel pangs for the art he had left behind.  In 2005, his daughter, Becky Guttin, a talented artist in her own right, invited him to come and work with her in her workshop.  Not only that, unbeknownst to him and much to his surprise and delight, she had kept all of his old art furniture, including his easel, so he was able to dive right back in.

In addition, she later rented the space next door to her workshop on Miramar Rd, and now, they each have their own workshop side by side. Mareyna’s workshop is chock full of his paintings and creations from his younger days and now. He has had several exhibits over the last few years. His art keeps him going both mentally and physically. His marvelous sense of humor helps, too.

This is why time or timing is also important.  Since he lost his wife of more than 50 years, his art has kept him going.

In the exhibit, one can see Mareyna’s love of bright colors and sometimes whimsical and geometric designs. Putting on an exhibit takes a lot of time and effort, even more so for an octogenarian, but he does it with joy and pride.

This exhibit runs from January 20th until February 28th.

La Jolla Library

7555 Draper St.

La Jolla, CA 92017

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Miriam [Mimi] Pollack was born in Chicago, but moved to Mexico City when she was five years old. She lived and worked in Mexico for over 20 years. She currently resides in San Diego and worked as an ESL instructor at Grossmont College and San Diego Community College Continuing Education until June 2018. She writes for various local publications.